Legal considerations surrounding mandatory influenza vaccination for healthcare workers in the United States.Vaccine. 2013 Apr 03; 31(14):1771-6.V
Recent years have brought increased focus on the desirability of vaccinating more healthcare workers against influenza. The concern that novel 2009 H1N1 influenza A would spark a particularly severe influenza season in 2009-2010 spurred several institutions and one state to institute mandatory vaccination policies for healthcare workers, and several new mandates have been introduced since then. Some healthcare workers, however, have voiced objections in the media and in legal proceedings. This paper reviews the characteristics of influenza and how it is transmitted in the healthcare setting; surveys possible constitutional, administrative, and common law arguments against mandates; assesses the viability of those arguments; and identifies potential new legal strategies to support influenza vaccine mandates. It is intended to assist those involved in the regulation and administration of public and private healthcare institutions who may be considering approaches to mandates but have concerns about legal challenges.