For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Liz Jacobs, RN, 510-273-2232 or Shum Preston, 510-273-2276

California Nurses Association/NNOC Issues Policy on H1N1 Flu Vaccination: Encourage, Don't Mandate

WASHINGTON - As the national H1N1 pandemic arrives, with the vaccine
following shortly, the nation's largest professional association
and union of registered nurses has issued new nursing practice
guidelines to structure its use.  The California Nurses
Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) will
present this policy as bargaining demands to hospital
management, and as guidance to regulators and legislators. 

Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of CNA/NNOC remarked that,

"The H1N1 virus presents a profound and unprecedented
challenge to our nation's fraying healthcare system.  The
H1N1 flu vaccine should be offered as one part of a
comprehensive program to deal with this pandemic.  That
care plan must also contain immediate improvements to hospital
infection control procedures, including the guarantee of an
adequate supply of the appropriate N95 respirator masks as well
as thoughtful isolation procedures, in addition to an immediate
improvement to the public health safety net patients rely upon,
and a moratorium of closures of hospitals and emergency

"At the heart of this policy is the belief that every RN
should be vaccinated against the H1N1 influenza virus, but
nurses should maintain their right to decline for personal
reasons; in addition, every RN who contracts H1N1 must be cared
for properly by her facility and local government, including
with the guarantee of appropriate sick leave and presumptive
eligibility for workers' compensation."  The policy

  1. As frontline caregivers at the heart of the healthcare
    system, CNA/NNOC strongly recommends that all registered nurses
    (RNs) are vaccinated against the H1N1 influenza
  2. Any vaccination program for RNs should include extensive
    education on the risks and benefits of vaccination, with an
    emphasis on patient protection and the need to be prepared for a
    serious pandemic outbreak.
  3. CNA/NNOC supports an RN's right to decline
  4. RNs should be granted presumptive eligibility for workers'
    compensation benefits as a result of contracting the H1N1
    influenza virus, and should not be subject to disciplinary
    action by an employer due to absenteeism or illness resulting
    from the vaccine.

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National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.

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