BCNU: Mandatory flu vaccinations for health care workers no longer required

THE BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) announced on Wednesday that it has succeeded in ensuring the professional judgement of nurses is respected through an agreement with Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC) to amend the mandatory flu vaccination policy.

The new agreement, reached through collaborative efforts with HEABC, will mean an end to the punitive nature of the previous policy and is consistent with the flu prevention efforts released by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer.

BCNU President Christine Sorensen said the union will continue to work with the employer to encourage vaccination as a strategy to reduce flu transmission and promote the use of personal protective equipment when appropriate.

She said: “Vaccination is one effective way of protecting patients and health care workers and we hope that this new approach, which relies more on cooperation and professionalism instead of punitive action towards health care workers will achieve our goals of reducing influenza.”

BCNU said it is proud to be leading the way on this collaborative approach towards influenza prevention. Other health care unions, and the Doctors of BC are also being invited to support the policy.

The obligation to get immunized or wear a mask in patient care areas has been a contentious issue for BCNU and other health care unions since it was introduced in 2012. In 2015, BCNU filed an Industry Wide Application Dispute (IWAD) after health authorities refused to revoke their mandatory “vaccinate or mask” policy.