KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

It’s Still Too Early To Evaluate Whether Flu Season Is Worse Than Normal

New York officials declare a public health emergency as federal officials say the epidemic may have peaked.

Politico: 2013 Flu Epidemic? Too Soon To Tell, Experts Say
This flu season struck hard about a month earlier than usual. But despite all those news reports about overcrowded emergency rooms, it's too soon to say whether it will be worse than normal. In fact, federal health officials said last week it may already have peaked (Norman, 1/14).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Crack Down On Workers Refusing Flu Shots
Patients can refuse a flu shot. Should doctors and nurses have that right, too? That is the thorny question surfacing as U.S. hospitals increasingly crack down on employees who won't get flu shots, with some workers losing their jobs over their refusal (1/12).

The New York Times: Cuomo Declares Public Health Emergency Over Flu Outbreak
With the nation in the grip of a severe influenza outbreak that has seen deaths reach epidemic levels, New York State declared a public health emergency on Saturday, making access to vaccines more easily available. There have been nearly 20,000 cases of flu reported across the state so far this season, officials said. Last season, 4,400 positive laboratory tests were reported (Santora, 1/12).

The New York Times: Pharmacies Pressed To Meet High Demand For Flu Vaccine
Pharmacies around the city struggled to meet the demand for flu vaccinations on Sunday, a day after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a public health state of emergency in response to a drastic increase in the number of flu cases this year (Secret, 1/13).

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