PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island health care workers will have to get flu shots under a new health department policy, but the new regulations allow for exemptions.
The department said Friday that health care workers, trainees and others who have regular direct contact with patients will have to be immunized.
Workers with a medical reason for not getting the shot can get an exemption with a doctor's note. Those who don't want to be vaccinated but have no medical reason must submit a form saying they refuse and understand they'll need to wear a surgical mask during patient visits when flu is considered widespread.
Health Department Director Michael Fine says health care workers have a duty to protect their patients' health and that flu shots are the best way to prevent influenza.