A bill passed this week by the California Senate would require state doctors and health-care workers to receive a flu vaccination or wear a mask when interacting with patients, Modern Healthcare reports.
The policy would take effect in 2015. State Sen. Lois Wolk cited the estimated 35,000 deaths from influenza, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for health-care workers to be vaccinated when introducing the bill in April.
"My legislation... is an essential step toward preventing the outbreak of influenza in California’s health care facilities," Wolk said in a statement.
The legislation has garnered support from many state health-care organizations, such as the California Medical Association, but also faced opposition from groups like the California Nurses Association, according to Modern Healthcare. It now goes to the state House for consideration and a vote.
“We know that higher vaccination levels among staff have been associated with a lower risk of hospital-acquired influenza cases," said California Medical Association president James Hay in a statement after the bill passed through the Senate. "This bill is an example of good public health."