As in previous years, Health Sciences Association of British Columbia encourages health care workers who work in patient care areas to be vaccinated annually against influenza.
Vancouver (27 Aug. 2012) - British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer Perry Kendall has announced new measures for influenza prevention among health care workers and patients.
As in previous years, Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSABC/NUPGE) encourages health care workers who work in patient care areas to be vaccinated annually against influenza.
However, under the new policy, if health care workers chose not to be vaccinated they will be required to wear a surgical/procedure mask during the flu season – generally the end of November to the end of March. During an influenza outbreak, the mask-wearing policy will be suspended, and health care workers who have not been vaccinated may be redeployed or told to stay home.
HSABC/NUPGE notes that some members may have medical, religious, or other personal reasons for not getting a flu shot. In these cases, employers often attempt to find alternate work if possible. The union cautions that, in the event that the Provincial Health Officer declares a flu outbreak at your facility, health care workers who refuse the vaccination can be sent home without pay.
HSABC/NUPGE encourages health professionals to get immunized against seasonal influenza. It is also suggested the members keep their immunization record current and employee health files up to date by receiving their flu shot at an employer-run clinic.
HSABC/NUPGE is reviewing the new mask policy with occupational health and safety and legal experts, and will investigate the implications for members. In addition, in order to encourage increased participation in the vaccination program, HSABC/NUPGE will work to encourage employers ensure better access to on-site vaccination clinics.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE