SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) – Health officials in Sonoma County are expanding a requirement to receive this year’s flu shot to cover all employees in senior care, along with in-home care workers.

According to the order issued by Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase, the revised requirement covers workers in adult and senior care facilities, in-home care workers and home health aides, hospice workers and those at Regional Centers serving people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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Employees in the above sectors must receive the flu vaccine by November 30. Officials said workers who receive a medical exemption or religious accommodation from the flu shot requirement would be required to wear a surgical mask or respirator while working indoors.

Last month, the county issued a flu shot requirement for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care workers, with the deadline set for November 15.

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Mase expanded the order amid concerns about the potential of a surge in both influenza and COVID-19 patients in hospitals this winter.

“Now that we have a vaccine for COVID-19, we know many people are planning holiday gatherings around other vaccinated people. But the COVID vaccine won’t reduce your chance of getting the flu, or spreading it to others,” Mase said. “If we all get a flu shot, then it will help keep people out of the hospital and free up our doctors and nurses to care for the very sickest in our community.”

Officials said the flu vaccine is widely available at healthcare providers, clinics, pharmacies and some COVID-19 vaccination sites. Both the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine are safe to receive at the same appointment.

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Employees covered by the expanded order are also being required by the California Department of Public Health to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of November.