Association Sponsored Flu Shot Clinics -
It's All about Prevention
With all the attention flu prevention is receiving this year, some associations have chosen to host immunization clinics for their residents. In providing such a convenient service to its residents, however, the last thing an association wishes to face is a lawsuit by a vaccine recipient who happens to have a negative reaction to the flu shot. With a bit of careful planning, though, an association can offer flu prevention to its residents and minimize its own exposure to liability.
Currently there are no Florida cases which have held an association or similarly situated organization liable for a vaccinees negative reaction to a flu shot given at an on-site clinic. This is not to say that a court would never hold a sponsoring organization liable for such an occurrence; however, as long as an association contracts with a reputable on-site vaccination service or local health department and follows any and all protocol established by that provider, then liability risks should be limited.
For additional insulation against liability, it is recommended that the immunization service be limited exclusively to residents of the condominium or the development. Also, it is advisable that each of the vaccine recipients sign a release, prior to receiving the vaccination, stating that he or she will not hold the association responsible for any adverse reactions to the flu shot.
As far as actually dealing with potential adverse reactions, the Center for Disease Control has stated that vaccine providers must be trained to recognize and treat adverse reactions, and that the equipment needed to handle adverse reactions must be available on-site. Accordingly, it is suggested that when choosing a private or public vaccine provider, an association should specifically ask whether as part of the vaccination process the provider will monitor vaccinees for adverse reactions, whether they will inform vaccine recipients of the signs of an adverse reaction which might appear after leaving the site, and what steps the provider would take in the case of an adverse reaction. The answers to these important questions should be provided to the association in writing. If the prospective providers responses to these questions do not demonstrate an adequate preparedness for dealing with adverse reactions, it is strongly recommended that the association contact another agency or service to conduct the on-site flu shot clinic. If, in the judgment of the association, the provider is prepared to recognize and handle adverse reactions, by following the suggestions above, an association may confidently proceed with sponsoring a safe and healthful flu shot clinic. This being said, it is always a good idea for an association to contact its liability insurance carrier to ensure that such an event would be covered under its current policy.
The firm of Taylor & Carls, P.A., with offices located in Maitland, Clearwater and Palm Coast, Florida, was founded in 1981 and has practiced in the area of community association law since that date. This edition was prepared by Sara K. Wilson, Esq. of Taylor & Carls, P.A. The information contained in The Association e-Lawyer should not be acted upon without professional legal advice. The opinions expressed herein are as of the date hereof, and this law firm undertakes no obligation to advise the Association of subsequent changes in the law.
2009 Taylor & Carls, P.A. All Rights Reserved.
The firm can be reached Toll Free at 1-800-395-6235 or locally at 407-660-1040.
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