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.

Virus

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.

Resources

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

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. 42009

Reviewed Oct. 202017.