Allina Health announced Thursday it was mandating all employees, students, contractors and volunteers receive an influenza vaccine for the coming flu season.
There will be limited exemptions to the vaccination rule, the organization said in a statement. COVID-19 vaccines are not currently mandated by Allina.
“Getting the influenza vaccine is the first and best way to reduce the chance of getting influenza,” said Molly Clark, Allina Health vice president for safety and quality. “Health care workers are at a higher risk of exposure to influenza. By being immunized we’re helping protect our team, our patients, and our ability to care for the communities we serve.”
The announcement comes in the midst of a nationwide debate about whether employers should require workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. In the U.S. more than 602,000 have died from COVID-19 and more than 33.5 million have been infected.
Minnesota has recorded 604,879 coronavirus cases and 7,561 deaths as of Thursday.
Allina said in its statement that it was following the lead of other health care providers. Those that mandate flu shots have seen reduced absenteeism, improved patient safety and lower health care costs, the statement said.
Allina noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all health care workers get an influenza vaccine.