New Jersey has recently passed flu vaccine legislation that does not permit healthcare workers to opt out of an employer’s mandated flu vaccine policy based upon the employee’s religious beliefs. In previous years, health care workers were afforded this exemption. This year vaccines are seen as even more important for health care workers and the general public, given the continuing threat of COVID-19.
According to the New Jersey Immunization Network (“NJIM”), healthcare workers are at risk for exposure to serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. They can also be a key cause of outbreaks in a variety of healthcare settings. NJIM further advocates that vaccination among health care personnel can decrease patient mortality by 40% to 50% and reduce employee absences by 20% to 30%. Because healthcare workers deal with high risk patients and residents, New Jersey has determined that mandatory flu vaccines for these employees is of particularly importance, especially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The new flu vaccine legislation is also a means to address State and hospital officials’ concerns about potential staffing shortages, should coronavirus hospitalizations rise again in the months to come.
The only exemption afforded to health care workers under the new legislation is a medical exemption. Employees requesting the medical exemption must use a form designated by the Department of Health, stating that the influenza vaccination is medically contradicted.
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Please contact Ms. Trabosh if your employer has denied your request for a medical exemption from the flu vaccine. Call or contact Trabosh Employment Law to schedule a free consultation of your claims.