11/30/2012 09:51 EST | Updated 01/30/2013 05:12 EST

B.C. Nurses Flu Shot Fight Gets Province To Back Off

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR NCOA - Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, right, gets his flu shot from Shawna Wilson, left, during the flu shot clinic at the Armory Park Senior Center in Tucson, Ariz., Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. This clinic is part of the Flu + You initiative to educate 65 and older adults about the available flu vaccine options. (John Miller/AP Images for NCOA)
VANCOUVER - The union representing British Columbia's nurses says members won't be forced to wear masks and stickers if they're not vaccinated against the flu.

British Columbia's health officer Dr. Perry Kendall announced the policy this past August, arguing low vaccination rates among health professionals were putting patients at risk.

But the British Columbia Nurses Union says the provincial government has backed off on the policy following a "strong public campaign" by members.

The union says the provincial government will provide nurses with more information about the value of immunization and provide on-site flu clinics for members.

It says the government will also work with unions and employers to determine the best way to increase vaccination rates.

In November, a doctor with the U.K.-based Cochrane Collaboration publicly questioned the evidence used to justify the mandatory flu-shot policy.

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