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Supporting Assembly Bill 689 would require each general acute care hospital to offer onsite vaccinations for influenza to ALL inpatients prior to discharge, annually, beginning no later than October 1 and ending on the following April 1. Voting YES on AB 689 would offer ALL patients equal opportunity to protect themselves and the people around them from influenza viruses.

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. The seasonal flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During this time, flu viruses are circulating in the population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community (CDC, 2013). Existing law requires offering onsite influenza vaccinations only to high-risk patients ages 65 years and older. Other high risk patients include children 5 years and under, pregnant women, immunocompromised, and individuals with chronic conditions such as heart conditions, neurological conditions, metabolic conditions, respiratory conditions, and so on. Not offering the vaccine to all of these individuals may be considered unfair treatment, as one of these high-risk individuals may not receive the same care as their 65-year-old counterpart while both may share the same level of risk. As of Feb 24, 2010, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to expand the recommendation for annual influenza vaccination to include all people aged 6 months and older. In order to comply with these guidelines, general acute care hospitals should be mandated to offer influenza vaccines to all their patients (CDC, 2010). The only time a hospital would not be responsible for offering influenza vaccination is if there is a state shortage or when the physician does not recommend that the patient should receive vaccination. Patients are not forced to receive the shot and are still able to decline based on their preferences.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Press release: CDCs advisory committee on immunization practices (ACIP) recommends universal annual influenza vaccination. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What you should know for the 2013-2014 influenza season. Retrieved from US Department of Health and Human Services. Vaccination & vaccine safety. Retrieved from World Health Organization. (2014). Seasonal influenza fact sheet. Retrieved from