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News Link • Vaccines and Vaccinations

Albany Med nurses suspended after refusing flu shot

• CBS Albany, NY

Strife has been a registered nurse at Albany Medical Center for 4 years.

He did get his flu vaccination, but some of his coworkers did not, and are now suspended.

They could be terminated if they do not vaccinate within 7 days, under a new policy implemented at the hospital.

"I do feel for them. I also feel for the nurses that are working here who are having to suffer because of this policy, especially coming into the cold and winter season. This is a definite stretch for the hospital, a definite stretch for all of the nurses and putting a strain on us," Strife said.

Eric Smith with the New York State Nursing Association says Albany Med is the only hospital they represent with this policy.

He says nurses who do not vaccinate follow a detailed masking procedure.

"They would have new masks for every patient point of contact and maintain quality infection control," Smith said.

And Smith says it's worked for decades.

"There is no danger to patients at these other institutions that allow masking. We have not heard of massive flu outbreaks where masking is allowed. We think this is an employment decision by Albany to be punitive, and the timing is very odd to us seeing that we're in the midst of bargaining," he said.


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