Judge Blocks Mandatory Flu Shots, Temporarily

By Hasani Gittens
|  Friday, Oct 16, 2009  |  Updated 1:27 PM EDT
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Judge Blocks Mandatory Flu Shots, Temporarily

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Flu vaccination needles are seen at a free flu shot clinic at New York-Presyterian Hospital's Allen Pavilion

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The fight against mandatory flu vaccines has just gotten a shot in the arm.

An Albany judge has just issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state Department of Health from mandating flu vaccinations for health care workers in New York, according to lawyers in the case.

Terry Kindlon, the lawyer representing nurses who filed a lawsuit this week, said Judge Thomas McNamara issued the order at a hearing Friday morning. 

The nurses argue the policy violates their civil rights.

State Health Commissioner Richard Daines had imposed a regulation that required certain health care workers to be vaccinated by Nov. 30 or face being fired.

Kindlon says New York is the only state in the country to require "involuntary vaccinations" for health care workers.

Two unions -- the Public Employees Federation and New York State United Teachers -- are also suing to reverse the policy. PEF says it encourages its members to be vaccinated against the flu, but opposes the emergency regulation requiring the vaccine as a condition of employment.

PEF said Friday it encourages its members to be vaccinated against the flu, but opposes the emergency regulation requiring the vaccine as a condition of employment.

The union says about 5,000 of its members are covered by the emergency regulations.

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