Carmella Gutierrez, president of Californians for Patient Care, says that the call to action has been made by the California Department of Public Health, the California Hospital Association, the California Medical Association, the California Association of Physician Groups, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) California chapter and the California Association of Health Facilities, urging all healthcare workers to voluntarily receive the flu vaccine.
"While we support the effort, it does not go far enough and unnecessarily puts vulnerable patients at risk," Gutierrez says. "Californians for Patient Care is proud to join the many other healthcare organizations -- including the American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology and APIC -- that have previously called for mandated flu vaccines for all healthcare professionals."
Gutierrez adds, We believe that 100 percent of all healthcare professionals should receive a flu vaccine every year. After all, we require California students (entering seventh grade and above) to receive a whooping cough vaccination, to protect the health of students. What makes our healthcare workers, who know firsthand how deadly influenza can be, exempt from receiving a vaccination to eliminate the spread of deadly infection? Hospital employees are required by law to get a flu vaccine or wear an approved mask. Why arent other healthcare employees held to the same standard? We also call upon all unions that represent healthcare workers to join the efforts to ensure all healthcare workers receive their annual flu vaccine, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates is the most effective way to protect patients, healthcare workers and others from this potentially deadly disease. We believe that if the flu vaccine is good for patients, its also good for healthcare workers.
Gutierrez continues, "Healthcare professionals come in contact with weak, vulnerable patients with incredibly compromised immune systems, people who are particularly susceptible to infection like influenza. By not doing something as minor as getting a flu vaccine, healthcare workers put their patients health at unnecessary risk. It is time to make public health a real priority and require annual flu vaccinations for all healthcare professionals.
Californians for Patient Care is a nonprofit organization based in Sacramento dedicated to protecting the interests of patients and ensuring all California consumers have fair and equitable access to high quality healthcare.