On October 16th, a judge in New York State suspended a health regulation requiring health care workers – and volunteers – to receive mandatory H1N1 swine flu vaccinations.
Why Were Health Care Workers Being Required to Receive the Swine Flu Vaccine?
The New York State Health Department and the state's health commissioner, Dr. Richard F. Daines, imposed the rule in an effort to assure the health and safety of hospital patients, whose immune systems are already compromised, and are thus at higher risk for swine flu and severe swine flu symptoms.
Hospitals and other organizations have interpreted the regulation, which required vaccination by November 30th, as grounds to fire workers and turn away volunteers who do not comply.
What Does the Suspension of the Mandatory Vaccination Regulation Mean?
Justice Thomas J. McNamara of the State Supreme Court issued the temporary suspension until a second hearing on October 30th, where it will either be removed again or made permanent.
In effect, the regulation, or lack there of, will probably make little difference to patients; hospitals will still offer the vaccines to employees, and most would receive them anyway. But there are a few who are unsure of the safety of the vaccines, especially for those workers who are pregnant. And there are more who are simply uncomfortable with the idea of being required to receive the swine flu vaccine, regardless of their personal choice. Patricia Finn, a lawyer in a separate but related case, told the New York Times, that this is their primary concern; "[vaccination is] not like getting your teeth cleaned," she claims, "it’s pretty serious. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.”