Shasta County rescinds flu shot order for all health-care workers

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David Benda
 
| Redding Record Searchlight

Facing backlash from opponents, including some nurses, Shasta County has rescinded its order that all health-care workers get a flu shot this season.

Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom announced her decision Thursday morning in a news release.

“The Board of Supervisors and I appreciate, Dr. Ramstrom’s commitment to helping ensure our local health-care workers and patients are protected against the flu and COVID-19,” Shasta County Executive Officer Matt Pontes said in the release.

The county health order from 2013 that requires health workers to either get the flu vaccine or wear a mask at all times while at work during the influenza season remains in place, Ramstrom said.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Ramstrom and supervisors were criticized for the flu shot order, as opponents said it was unconstitutional and it took away their right to choose.

A registered nurse who spoke yelled to supervisors, “We will strike,” as she wrapped up her comments to board members.

Health and Human Services Agency spokeswoman Kerri Schuette said the department has received a lot of feedback since Tuesday’s meeting.

“It is more important than ever for health-care workers to get vaccinated against the flu, and the supervisors recognize the importance of offering an alternative for the health-care workers who decline vaccination,” Board of Supervisors chairwoman Mary Rickert said in the news release.

David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly “Buzz on the Street” column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.

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