All faculty, staff, and students throughout the Mount Sinai Health System are expected to get an annual influenza vaccination, a request that has new urgency this year. For the first time, the New York State Department of Health is requiring that all hospital personnel either receive the influenza vaccination or wear masks in areas where there is potential for patient contact, including lobbies, corridors, elevators, and cafeterias, as well as in all typical patient-care areas. This new regulation will be in effect throughout the influenza season, which typically runs from December to late spring.
“Influenza kills thousands of Americans every year, but influenza vaccine saves lives, and is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our patients,” says Jeremy Boal, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System.
Influenza vaccinations, including those that are free of thimerosal, eggs, and latex, are being provided at no cost to employees and volunteers. All immunized staff will receive a sticker for their employee ID badge. Vaccines are available immediately through each hospital’s Employee Health Service. Additionally, each hospital will offer vaccination at a variety of convenient campus locations throughout the coming weeks.
In order to comply with the State regulations, beginning Monday, December 2, faculty, students, staff, and volunteers who do not have an influenza sticker on their ID badge must wear a mask while working or walking through patient-care and public areas in any of the buildings on The Mount Sinai Hospital campus, or in Health System hospitals and clinics.
For those individuals who receive or have received the vaccination elsewhere, they must submit written documentation of where (physician office, store, or other site, including address) they received the vaccine, who provided the immunization, and the date. This should be submitted to the respective Employee Health Service.
Says Dr. Boal, “Everyone’s cooperation is needed to help us protect our patients and staff.”