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Downstate Times

The Newsletter for SUNY Downstate
University Hospital of Brooklyn

Flu Shot or Mask?
Hint: Go for the Shot


Robert Richards, UHB senior associate administrator, gets his flu shot.

Under New DOH Vaccination Rules, Hospital Staff Who Aren't Vaccinated Must Wear Masks to Protect Patients.

This fall, new DOH rules for flu vaccines will kick in. All staff who have face-to-face contact with patients must be vaccinated or wear a mask. The rules apply whether you are a physician, nurse, lab tech, transporter, housekeeper, or food deliverer: If your job takes you into a patient room, or an area where there are patients, you will either need proof of vaccination or be prepared to mask up – no exceptions!

"The new rules are very strict," said George Allen, director of infection control. "Even if an agency nurse were to work only one day during the current flu season at this facility, s/he would have to show proof of vaccination or wear a mask."

The rule will kick in at whatever point in time the New York State Commissioner of Health determines that flu has become prevalent. In some years, that could be as early as October, or as late as May. "We're not going to wait," said Dr. Allen.

"We're going to be very aggressive with our vaccine fairs and with taking mobile vaccine carts to the floors, to make it easy for staff to get their shots."

UHB Vaccination Rates

2011-2012 37%

2012-2013 57%

UHB has substantially improved its vaccination rates. But the new regulations mean we need to do even better.

Watch for Upcoming Announcements of Flu Fairs and On-Unit Vaccination Schedules.