As flu season approaches the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer, Dr. Penny Borenstein, has issued anorder for all healthcare workers in the county to be vaccinated, but this year the order includes an extra vaccine.

This order will be implemented during what is known as influenza season which is November 1 through April 30.

During that period, all healthcare workers in SLO County must be vaccinated against flu/COVID-19 or wear a mask.

It’s a health officer order that’s issued every year during flu season and something that has been done for about 10 years.

“This health officer order is something that I’ve been doing for over a decade. In a sense, we’re going back to the pre-COVID days. This year, it seemed natural to add COVID because obviously, that’s a big respiratory disease that we’re dealing with,” said Dr. Borenstein.

This order applies to SLO County hospitals, community clinics, physician offices, long-term care facilities, and emergency medical services providers.

“It’s just really good public health practice to protect the health care workers and protect their patients,” added Dr. Borenstein.

“We agree with and comply with the local public health recommendation. We make vaccination available to all of our employees starting in early October,” said Dr. Brian Roberts, Med-Stop Madonna Plaza medical director.

Dr. Roberts with Med-Stop Urgent Care says most of his employees are vaccinated.

“We do have one employee who unfortunately is unable to be vaccinated and she does wear a mask whenever she’s in the patient care areas,” explained Dr. Roberts.

The order calls for all healthcare facilities/organizations to adopt and implement a policy for all healthcare workers to receive the annual influenza vaccine and remain up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination.

If they don’t choose to get vaccinated the employee must wear a mask during work.

“Quite a few counties have some type of order in place for the respiratory disease system, and some of them are issuing a mask mandate for health care workers regardless of vaccination status. In this county, we decided to go with a vaccination or mask,” explained Dr. Borenstein.

“It’s hard because I think masks are great, but I don’t think they’re complete protection. I think it’s their choice of what they should do either wear a mask or get a vaccine, or if they don’t want either, I think that’s their choice,” said local resident Terry Vrakelos.

Dr. Borenstein says that the time period when the order is in effect could change if cases were to worsen in SLO County.

If an employee refuses to abide by either choice she says that issue would have to be taken up with their employer.

According to Dr. Borenstein COVID-19 is still the number three leading cause of death in the United States.


Source link