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March 15, 2012
OSHA Explains Its Opposition to Mandatory Flu Vaccinations

It may seem ironic, but OSHA is not on board when it comes to mandatory flu vaccination for healthcare workers. A position statement on the issue notes that the agency is “strongly supportive of efforts to increase influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers in accordance with the Healthy People 2020 goals.”

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However, OSHA does not see sufficient scientific evidence for the federal government to promote mandatory flu vaccine programs that lack an option to decline based on medical, religious, or other reasons.

What’s more, OSHA says, “The current influenza vaccine is no magic bullet.” Vaccine technology requires annual reformulation, which, according to OSHA, means that its effectiveness is variable. Every year there are strains of the flu that are not included in the vaccine.

OSHA also notes that reliance on a mandatory flu vaccine could provide healthcare personnel with “an unwarranted sense of security and result in poor adherence to other infection control practices…” That includes practices to guard against other infections, not just the flu.

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