About 300 health care workers rallied Tuesday in Albany to protest a new state rule requiring health care workers in hospitals, outpatient clinics and home care services to get vaccinated against both the seasonal flu and the newer H1N1 flu.
The rule is unusual among states because it doesn’t allow workers to abstain for religious reasons; the only exemptions are when the vaccine is medically contraindicated. Exempted workers may need to be reassigned to protect patients.
The state issued the emergency regulation in August to protect patients from acquiring influenza from infected health care workers. Only 40 percent to 50 percent of health care workers got vaccinated when it was encouraged but voluntary, Dr. Richard Daines, state health commissioner, said in an open letter to health care workers.