Bill to improve public health passes, despite political maneuvering by opposition
Sacramento – SB 1318 (Wolk), which would require all health care workers in health care facilities, including physicians, to either receive the influenza vaccination or wear a mask in patient care areas during flu season, moved out of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee this afternoon. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA).
“We thank and applaud the committee members for understanding the importance this bill has on the future of public health,” said James T. Hay, M.D., CMA President. “Reports have shown that higher vaccination levels among staff have been associated with a lower risk of hospital-acquired influenza cases. SB 1318 will help to keep the numbers of hospital-acquired flu fatalities low.”
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and, at times, can lead to death. Some people, such as seniors, young children and those with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
In California, several counties (Sacramento, Yolo and San Francisco) and numerous hospitals have gone beyond state law and have instituted mandatory vaccination policies that include a masking requirement for the unvaccinated. The California hospitals with the highest vaccine compliance rate are those that have such policies in place.
“CMA physicians look forward to working with partners in health to ensure that SB 1318 becomes law in California,” added Dr. Hay.