Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a measure Friday, ensuring that a rule will remain in effect to require all licensed home care agencies to offer on-site influenza vaccinations to all employees.
It was among two other bills she vetoed and 20 that she signed to close out legislation sent to her by lawmakers during the last week of the session. The session ended May 25.
Fallin said she vetoed House Joint Resolution 1095 because it disapproved a state Health Department rule that she approved in February 2011.
“This regulation protects our most vulnerable population — the ill and the elderly — from a serious and preventable disease,” the governor wrote in her veto message. “Research indicates that vaccination rates for health care workers in all settings rarely exceed 40 percent.
“The failure of home care employees to get vaccinated puts already ill patients at risk of contracting influenza from their health care workers,” she said.
Fallin conceded that the program will create expense for home care agencies, but the cost is significantly less than the cost of treating influenza.
“There is also a cost savings realized through the improved productivity of a healthy work force,” she said.
The requirement also will likely reduce the legal liability for small businesses because it will reduce the likelihood of health care workers infecting their patients with influenza, Fallin said.
“I stand by my previous decision to approve this rule because it is good public policy and beneficial to our business community and the citizens of Oklahoma,” she said.
Fallin this year signed into law 396 bills and vetoed 11, or nearly 3 percent of the measures she received.