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County Mandates Flu Shot for Health Workers

All health workers in Contra Costa County will be required to get a flu shot this season or wear a protective mask while working.

Bay City News

Health care workers in Contra Costa County will have to "practice what we preach" beginning this flu season, county health officials said Monday.

Dr. William Walker, health officer for Contra Costa County, has mandated that all health care workers in the county receive the annual flu vaccination or wear a mask while working.

"As health care providers, we need to practice what we preach," Walker said in a release. "We always urge the public to get their flu shots every year and for good reason. If doctors and nurses aren't bothering to get immunized, we're not only sending a contradictory message to the public, we're endangering our patients."

Walker continued to say that patient safety was at stake and the vaccination rates of health care workers were too low.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the employee vaccination rates in Contra Costa County range between 44 to 72 percent in 2010-11.

The flu is contagious up to one day prior to symptoms appearing and can be especially dangerous to young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with chronic conditions, according to Walker.

The requirement will go into effect during the coming flu season from Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 and will continue in future flu seasons, officials said.

Contra Costa County's announcement of this follows similar mandates in several counties in California, including San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Sacramento counties.

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