Influenza #

Regis­tered nurses are on the front lines of our health care system and play a critical role in preventing and treating the spread of influenza. As the most trusted health profes­sionals in the nation, you can have a positive impact on the health of our commu­ni­ties and keep our state’s influenza levels low. 

A flu vaccine recom­men­da­tion and offer from you makes a huge differ­ence. Yearly flu vacci­na­tion is recom­mended for everyone 6 months and older. It is especially impor­tant for those at high risk for flu-related compli­ca­tions. Consider getting vacci­nated to protect yourself and others from the flu and remind patients to get a flu shot. CDC also recom­mends everyday preven­tive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent hand washing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respi­ra­tory illnesses, like flu.

WSNA’s position on influenza vaccinations and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic #

WSNA is committed to advocating for the health of nurses, patients and the commu­ni­ties they serve. Because of this commit­ment, WSNA strongly recom­mends that all nurses and other health care providers be vacci­nated against all influenza viruses as a key compo­nent of a compre­hen­sive influenza preven­tion program. WSNA recog­nizes the enhanced impor­tance of the influenza vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic. WSNA’s strongest recom­men­da­tion is that all nurses, health care workers, and the general public elect to receive the flu shot this year.

WSNA strongly supports and urges volun­tary efforts that aim for 100 percent vacci­na­tion rates, including annual educa­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of compre­hen­sive influenza vacci­na­tion programs for all health care workers. WSNA is committed to educating our members and the public through a variety of mechanisms.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, current universal masking policies in health care facil­i­ties may help contain the spread of influenza. It is critical that all health care workers are provided adequate Personal Protec­tive Equip­ment (PPE) used according to manufacturer’s instruc­tions to prevent trans­mis­sion of coron­avirus and influenza.

WSNA supports enforce­ment of existing federal and state regula­tions to ensure that all employers meet the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupa­tional Health and Safety Admin­is­tra­tion (OSHA) require­ments for influenza prevention.

WSNA's position on mandatory influenza vaccinations and strategies to address influenza #

The Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion (WSNA) is committed to advocating for the health of nurses, patients and the commu­ni­ties they serve. Because of this commit­ment, WSNA strongly recom­mends that all nurses and other health care providers be vacci­nated against all influenza viruses. WSNA strongly supports and urges volun­tary efforts that aim for 100% vacci­na­tion rates, including annual educa­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of compre­hen­sive influenza vacci­na­tion programs for all health care providers. 

WSNA supports enforce­ment of existing Federal and State regula­tions to ensure that all employers meet the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupa­tional Health and Safety Admin­is­tra­tion (OSHA) require­ments for influenza prevention. 

WSNA believes a hospital-by-hospital approach to manda­tory vacci­na­tions is poor public policy. It lacks consis­tency and adequate protec­tion for patients and health care workers. WSNA believes that any vacci­na­tion policy is only one compo­nent of a compre­hen­sive influenza preven­tion policy and should only be enacted as a result of federal or public health regula­tion. WSNA believes that any such regula­tion must include the following core components: 

  • Employers must ensure that appro­priate protec­tion and safety measures are in place to provide a safe workplace environ­ment for nurses and health care workers.
  • Employers must ensure that influenza vaccines are avail­able and offered to every health care worker annually at conve­nient times and locations.
  • The policy must cover all health care settings and health care workers. This includes all settings such as hospi­tals, long-term care facil­i­ties, adult boarding homes, outpa­tient clinics, etc. Health care workers must include those licensed and unlicensed who work in close proximity to patients, (e.g. nurses, emergency respon­ders, physi­cians, house­keeping personnel, health care secre­tarial staff, etc). 
  • If a decli­na­tion form is required for vacci­na­tion, the nurse must be able to sign the form confi­den­tially; that is, the nurse must not be required to divulge personal health infor­ma­tion or declare the reason(s) for refusal of a vaccine. The employer must not discrim­i­nate against or disci­pline a nurse for opting out.
  • The employer must not discrim­i­nate against or disci­pline nurses for the appro­priate use of sick time.
  • The employer must comply with CDC and OSHA Guide­lines must be used for preven­tion, protec­tion, and safety of nurses and patients.”

Adopted by the WSNA Board of Direc­tors, Dec. 4, 2009.

Reviewed Oct. 20, 2017.

Resources #

For recent updated infor­ma­tion and guidance from the Washington State Depart­ment of Health and CDC:

Updates #