Can Health-Care Workers Be Forced to Get Flu Shots?

Mandatory flu-vaccination policies are forcing health-care workers to get the shot — or get axed

William West / AFP

Workers in many hospitals have to get the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.

At Winthrop hospital on New York's Long Island, the signs are everywhere. They're posted at every nurses' station, papered above the security panels against which employees swipe their ID cards and even attached to paychecks. The notices are there to remind the hospital's staff — which includes everyone from the doctors and nurses who care for patients to the administrative, housekeeping and food-service personnel — that every employee must be vaccinated against both seasonal and H1N1 flu or face possible termination.

The mandate comes from the health department of New York, which over the summer became the first state to require...