RI union sues to stop flu-shot mandate

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2012 at 8:47 am •  Published: December 7, 2012
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A union representing health care workers has filed a federal lawsuit trying to stop Rhode Island from enforcing new regulations requiring flu vaccination.

The regulations require health professionals to get a flu shot or wear a mask when in contact with patients during periods of widespread flu activity. Those who don't comply face fines and disciplinary action.

The Providence Journal reports the SEIU Healthcare Employees Union alleges there is no medical evidence that vaccinating workers protects patients or that surgical masks inhibit flu transmission. The lawsuit argues the regulations violate a federal requirement to negotiate such matters with the union.

State Health Department Director Michael Fine tells WPRO-AM there is evidence that flu shots for health professionals work and they have a responsibility to get a shot or wear a mask.