Doctors and nurses in “high-risk” hospital wards must get the flu shot before June or they may be sacked, the NSW government has announced as part of its plans to stop a repeat of last year’s influenza epidemic.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said medical staff in wards such as neonatal, transplant and cancer must show they had been vaccinated by June 1 or they would be moved or forced to wear a mask. If they resisted, they may be sacked.
“Last year’s flu season was just diabolic. Anything that we can do to try and head that off has to happen,” he said.
Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said the medical staff vaccination plan was a “no-brainer” and the government should urgently adopt a “North American-style approach” to limit the spread of influenza.
He said such a program would include large-scale free or subsidised vaccination programs for workplaces and schools, stronger hygiene practices in public places, a community education campaign, and encouraging self-exclusion from school or work.