Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nurses to sue over H1N1 shots:

They object to state mandating health workers be vaccinated

By SCOTT WALDMAN, Staff writer
First published in print: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ALBANY -- Lorna Patterson is willing to take on New York's top health official for her right to be flu vaccine-free.

The registered nurse in Albany Medical Center's emergency room is among a group of nurses who plan to file a lawsuit against state Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines to prevent the mandatory vaccination of New York's health care workers with the H1N1 flu virus.
"It takes away our freedom of choice," Patterson told reporters during a news conference Monday. "Our health is being affected."

The deadline for the state's health care workers to receive the swine flu vaccination is at the end of next month, though some employers have moved that up to the end of this month.

The four nurses will file a lawsuit against the state this week to prevent the forced vaccination, said their attorney, Terence L. Kindlon.

"This is a significant civil rights issue," Kindlon said. "We think people are being forced to do something by the government."

If Patterson and Kathryn Dupuis do not receive their shots within the next two weeks, they will likely lose their jobs in the emergency room at Albany Medical Center. Patterson said the vaccination was rushed into production in a matter of months and that its effect has not yet been properly studied.

Patterson said the vaccination could be dangerous for people, including pregnant women, and that more time is needed to understand its effectiveness. She said she is not willing to risk her health and does not think it is fair that she should lose her job.


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