Document Type

Letter to the Editor

Publication Date



New England Journal of Medicine


Volume 356, Issue 19

Inclusive Pages



Mandatory Programs--legislation & jurisprudence; Maternal Health; Papillomavirus Infections--prevention & control; Papillomavirus Vaccines


New York State's regulations require health care workers who have direct contact with patients or who may expose patients to disease to be vaccinated against seasonal and H1N1 influenza. Courts must take into account constitutional guarantees of personal autonomy, freedom of contract, and freedom of religion when reviewing the current lawsuits. These rights, however, have been constrained when they conflict with government measures that are intended to protect the community's health and safety. Health care workers have a profound effect on patients' health. Although they have the same rights as all private citizens, it is likely that courts will continue to make the health and safety of patients the priority in permitting exceptions to individual rights.

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