While hypochondriacs are worried about shortages of the H1N1 flu vaccine, Poughkeepsie nurse Suzanne Field is turning her nose up at a chance to score the injection. Not only is she opting out of a free vaccination for health care workers—mandated in September by the New York state health commissioner—she's also intent in making sure no other healthcare worker is subject to the needle. Her lawsuit to overturn the regulation is being heard today at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Field argues the regulation, which says that "most doctors, nurses, and health aides get a vaccine for both seasonal flu and the new swine flu if they want to stay on the job" is "arbitrary and capricious" because no other state is making up such rules. Her lawyer said, "It's up to the Legislature to invoke such broad and sweeping police power."
Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman, who is in fact a legislator and the chairman of the workplace safety subcommittee, isn't too sure about the regulation either, especially because of the H1N1 virus' “relatively mild nature” for most people infected, "Before I can support the government ordering people to inject medicine into their bodies, I want to see clear and convincing evidence that the vaccine will be safe and effective for each individual taking it, and necessary to protect human life."
NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said requirement violated the constitutional right of health care workers to control their bodies and their medical treatment.