Monday, October 19, 2009

American Federation of Teachers Opposes Mandatory Vaccinations:

American Federation of Teachers Strongly Opposes Mandatory Flu
Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers Union Passes a Resolution
Supporting a Comprehensive Influenza Prevention Program
Posted: 6:18 PM Oct 15, 2009

Press Release

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers unanimously passed a
resolution Wednesday strongly opposing mandatory seasonal and H1N1
influenza immunization, and instead, encouraging its members to weigh
the risks and benefits of flu vaccinations and make their own informed
decisions. It also encouraged employers to develop comprehensive
pandemic flu plans.

Mandatory flu vaccinations—and disciplining or firing workers who do
not comply—is now a reality in New York State and in various other
healthcare systems and hospitals across the country. Neither the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor the Joint Commission
proposes mandatory immunizations.

“We cannot afford to be shortsighted or narrow in our approach to
dealing with this pandemic,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.
“Immunization should be one of many tools—including respirator
protections, exposure-control strategies and post-exposure
medication—used by healthcare employers to protect patients and
healthcare workers.”

The AFT Web site,, includes fact sheets and updates on
H1N1 for every division of the union, including healthcare; early
childhood, K-12 and higher education; and public employees.

Candice Owley, R.N., who is chair of AFT Healthcare’s program and
policy council and president of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and
Health Professionals, added: “Mandatory vaccinations should not
discourage other efforts to prevent the spread of infection, such as
promoting good hand hygiene, nor should they create complacency and a
false sense of security among employers.”

The AFT has encouraged employers to develop a comprehensive pandemic
flu plan that includes an employee immunization campaign. Employers
should ensure healthcare workers are well-informed about the risks,
benefits, myths and misunderstandings related to flu vaccines.
Vaccinations should be provided during work hours at the work site and
at no cost to the employee. Research shows that with informational
campaigns, voluntary participation rates in getting the flu
vaccination can rise to 90 percent.

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