Lake Regional Health System will make the flu shot mandatory for all employees this year. Those who opt out of the shot for religious or health reasons will be required to wear a mask in the hospital during flu season. They say they’re implementing the policy to increase patient protection. Lake Regional will offer the vaccinations to staff in October, allowing.time for the body to produce antibodies to protect against the flu before the season typically hits the Midwest.
This year, the flu shot protects against two A strains (one of which is the H1N1 strain) and one B strain, which covers most flu circulating the United States. Tony Koch, D.O., an infectious disease specialist at Lake Regional, says it’s important to continue to get the flu shot each year, because the flu virus has several proteins on its viral shell which change from time to time that allow the virus to attach to and attack human cells.