Workers at state DHHS healthcare facilities are being required to get flu shots. Secretary Aldona Vos is implementing the policy to fall in line with what some hospitals have done to protect patients' health.
More than 10,000 employees and volunteers will have until December first to be vaccinated. Luckey Welsh is interim director of the DHHS division of state-operated facilities that house mentally and developmentally disabled patients.
"Anytime you have patients or residents in an institution, they're sort of captive to the environment to which they live, and when people bring in the flu to them, it's not like they can escape that," Welsh says. "And so that's why we do not want the flu brought in to their bedsides.
Employees' vaccinations will be free of charge under the state health plan. Workers do have the option to get flu shots through their personal physicians, but must show proof of their vaccination to the department.