To help protect patients and our community, Yale New Haven Health System has implemented the mandatory flu vaccination program. For the 2016-2017 flu season, all health system employees – from Yale New Haven, Bridgeport and Greenwich hospitals, the Health Services Corp., Northeast Medical Group and Grimes Center – must receive a flu vaccination or be approved for a medical or religious exemption as a condition of employment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200,000 Americans annually are hospitalized and tens of thousands may die from flu. Studies show that healthcare personnel are often unaware they have the flu and continue to work, exposing patients and co-workers.

"Yale New Haven Health System seeks to provide the best care possible to each patient," said Kevin A. Myatt, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. "Wherever there are opportunities to improve the safety and quality of care, we are committed to making those improvements. The decision this year requiring employees to receive the influenza vaccination is part of our efforts to enhance the safety of patients in our care."

During last year's flu season, leadership announced that the flu vaccine would be mandatory for all employees this year. As part of this season's mandatory requirement, employees may not decline vaccination.

The deadline for all flu vaccinations is Dec. 1, 2016. If an employee has a medical or religious reason for not receiving the flu vaccination, he or she must request a medical or religious exemption by Sept. 30. Employees will be notified of the status of their request by Oct. 28.

Employees may be vaccinated at YNHH or other YNHHS delivery networks free of charge at flu clinics this fall. Employees who are vaccinated at one of the health system locations will have their ESS record automatically updated.

Employees may also get vaccinated at their hospital's Occupational Health Services, their physician's office or elsewhere, but must provide documentation of the vaccination by entering an attestation and uploading the confirmation to Employee Self Service.

"Being vaccinated against influenza is the most important action each of us can take to help keep ourselves and our patients, colleagues and family from getting the flu," said Mark Russi, MD, YNHHS medical director of Wellness and Employee Population Health. "A mandatory vaccination program is in line with a national movement to increase immunization rates among healthcare personnel. We are implementing this program to enhance the safety with which we deliver care to patients throughout our health system."