Managing the Human Toll Caused by Seasonal Influenza: New York State’s Mandate to Vaccinate or Mask

Source: Arthur Caplan, Nirav R. Shah, JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, Viewpoint, Vol 310, No. 17, November 6, 2013
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…The state of New York it implementing a first-of-its-kind mandate for the use of masks in all unvaccinated health care personnel, both staff and volunteer. The new regulation, which goes into effect with the 2013-2014 flu season, requires unvaccinated health care personnel in regulated settings to wear a surgical mask in areas where patients or residents may be present. These settings include hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic and treatment centers, home care agencies, and hospices. Under the new regulations, health care facilities are obligated to report the number of personnel who have been vaccinated and must supervise unvaccinated staff to ensure the appropriate use of masks. Personnel who fail to comply will be subject to the same institutional disciplinary procedures imposed on workers who do not follow other infection control procedures. In addition, the state may cite a facility for failure to comply with these regulations if requirements are not met…