This is not going to be your typical flu season. At best, patients will flood healthcare facilities to get their flu shots early. The worst-case scenario is that they’ll shy away from immunization under the misguided assumption that it could leave them in a weakened state or expose them to people with COVID-19. Recognizing the overlap, as well as the reality that people who work in urgent care centers and other healthcare facilities are not immune from confusion and misinformation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a Menu of State Ambulatory Care Influenza Vaccination Laws. In addition to laying out the basics, the document offers clarity by recognizing four distinct areas of related laws:
- Assessment Requirements—The healthcare facility must assess a healthcare worker or patient’s vaccination status
- Administrative Requirements for Offering Vaccination—The healthcare facility must offer a vaccination to a healthcare worker or patient
- Administrative Requirements for Ensuring Vaccination—The healthcare facility must require a healthcare worker or patient to demonstrate proof of vaccination or immunity against a specific vaccine-preventable disease.
- Surgical Mask Requirements—The healthcare worker must wear a surgical mask during influenza (flu) season if he or she has been exempted from or declined flu vaccination
Ensure that you and your team understand your obligations in the state where you practice. In the meantime, read Employer Liability for Flu Infection in the JUCM archive.