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Letter to the editor: Health care workers need flu shots

Letter to the editor: Health care workers need flu shots

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Editor:

I have been a registered nurse for almost two years with a variety of experience in the hospital setting and long-term care. A current issue that I am compassionate about includes mandatory flu vaccination for health care workers.

I feel strongly about mandatory vaccination for all health care workers in the outpatient and inpatient setting, rehab and surgery centers, and most importantly long-term care facilities.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 36,000 people die in the U.S. each year from influenza. The New York State Nurses Association supports the CDC’s recommendation that everyone over the age of six months be immunized against seasonal influenza.

The bill S-1464 requires state licensed health care facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes and health care agencies, to establish and implement an annual influenza vaccination program. I believe that the passing of this bill into legislation was just a start to educating health care workers on the importance of immunization for themselves and to protect immunocompromised individuals.

During the 2019-2020 flu season, only 80.6 percent of health care workers received their flu vaccine. If all health care workers were mandated to receive their influenza vaccine, then all people 65 years and older, children younger than five years, pregnant women and individuals with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, would be at a decreased risk of contracting the virus and suffering from long-term complications.

Danielle Traver, Broadalbin

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