This is some straight bullshit. Flu shot or get fired About 25,000 Capital Region hospital workers need the state-mandated shield, and the area's top sites say comply or quit ALBANY -- Workers at Capital Region hospitals are going to have to get a flu shot this year or face losing their jobs. The requirement is part of a new emergency regulation adopted earlier this month by the State Hospital Review and Planning Council that requires that all hospital workers get the flu vaccine -- and that it be a requirement for employment. Hospitals are quickly trying to assemble new workplace policies to comply with the regulation, and those that have been put in place threaten disciplinary action and even termination if workers, from janitors and food service workers to doctors and nurses, refuse to get the shots. The policy affects about 25,000 people in the region. Albany Medical Center, the region's leading hospital, sent out announcements to workers earlier this week saying employees had to get flu shots by Oct. 16. Spokesman Gregory McGarry said the hospital may take "corrective action" against employees if they don't comply, although he declined to get into specifics about what type of penalties they would face. The hospital, which will pay for the vaccine, is insisting that almost all of its 7,000 employees get the shots, even those who work at off-site buildings such as the finance center in Delmar. McGarry said that even those workers spend time at the main hospital buildings for meetings. "It's anyone who has contact with patients or providers," McGarry said. "There may be rare exceptions." St. Peter's Hospital in Albany is also developing a set of strict guidelines as it seeks to get all of its 4,500 employees shots by Dec. 1. "There are very few exceptions," said spokesman Elmer Streeter. "We will be requiring it of all our employees as a condition of employment." Workers will be suspended for five days initially if they do not get the shot. After that, they have another five days to comply before facing possible termination. Public health officials across the world are gearing up for the flu season this year with special urgency, especially because of concerns over the H1N1 "swine" flu virus. The new state regulations do not cover the swine flu vaccine, only the seasonal flu vaccine. The New York State Nurses Association, which represents 37,000 nurses in the state, has opposed mandatory policies, and still does, says spokesman Mark Genovese. "We think it should not be mandatory," Genovese said. "But we of course urge them to protect themselves." Northeast Health in Troy, the organization that owns Albany Memorial Hospital and Samaritan Hospital in Troy, is working toward new guidelines. "We're still in the process of finalizing our policy on that," said spokeswoman Angela Yu. "Obviously, we are trying to comply with the health department rules."