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 SFMS/CMA.
Influenza 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. SB 1318 will help to keep the numbers of hospital-acquired flu fatalities low.
"The bill would protect our most vulnerable patients—infants, seniors and those who are immune-compromised," Wolk said. "It would ensure that health care workers receive the influenza vaccination, or wear a mask during influenza season. It's a choice: Get vaccinated, or wear the mask. We want to decrease the deaths from influenza, and increase the safety at hospitals."
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.
SB 1318 passed the Senate Committee on Health and Labor and Industrial Relations, and is re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.