New York hospital suspends nurses for declining flu shots

Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center suspended nine nurses who refused to get their flu shots under a new hospital policy, reports CBS 6 Albany.

The suspended nurses have seven days to get vaccinated or face potential termination. These nurses account for less than 1 percent of the more than 2,000 nurses who work at the hospital, a spokesperson for Albany Medical Center, told Becker's via email.

Eric Smith, area director at the New York State Nurses Association, said Albany Medical Center is the only organization they represent that has such a policy. Other hospitals require nurses who refuse the flu vaccine to follow a detailed masking procedure.

"We have not heard of massive flu outbreaks where masking is allowed," he told CBS 6 Albany.

Albany Medical Center implemented the flu shot policy in May, which applies to all clinical and nonclinical employees, students and volunteers at the organization. The hospital said the policy aligns with its commitment to create safe care environments and protect the health of its patients and employees.

"Hospitals and healthcare settings around the country have been working to increase immunization rates among healthcare workers," the hospital said in a statement cited by CBS 6 Albany. "A mandatory policy is the best way to reduce exposure when our patients are at risk for acquiring a potentially life-threatening disease."

Albany Medical Center told Becker's the suspensions have not affected patient care.

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