Unvaccinated docs, nurses

August 26, 2009
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How would you feel if the doctor or nurse in charge of your health wasn’t vaccinated for swine flu?

Some in the profession think it would be unethical, that the workers risk infecting patients. Yet, a study suggests the scenario could materialize easier than ordinary people might suspect.

The study, published on the Web site of the British Medical Journal, focused on health care workers in Hong Kong, which has been buffeted by both swine flu and bird flu. Nearly half of health workers in public hospitals said they’d refuse a swine flu shot, which isn’t available yet. Survey respondents feared the shots or felt they would be ineffective.

The study projected that health care workers around the world likely have similar thoughts.

Indiana’s health department has 317 confirmed cases of the flu, and has warned of potential for a serious outbreak during the upcoming flu season.

How do you feel about this? Should vaccinations be required of health workers? Are there legitimate reasons for workers to refuse the shots?
  • It will be interesting to see what our nation’s health care workers decide for themselves. Many people still harbor fear of vaccines. Though I personally don't like the idea having multiple vaccines at one time for fear of overloading the system, overall history has proved that vaccines have changed our whole world, and people take this for granted. The fact that the general public lives a good 20 - 30 years longer on average than decades back proves this. There is no scientific proof that vaccines cause any harm despite what a few people insist to be true. It is always a bit daunting to be the first to try out anything new medically fearing some unforeseen side effect. However with our population growing exponentially, and as living conditions grow us closer and closer together globally, every precaution should be taken especially by first responders and medical professionals who have the most contact and ability to spread the infections the fastest.. and to the weakest segment of the population (those already will ailments). Health care workers are required to be vaccinated for all kinds of things for this reason, I guess I don’t see how H1N1 should be any different. I am torn because I believe in our precious freedom of choice, but I also know that our population has grown apathetic and ignorant on these subjects. It is because of this that we should consider requiring vaccinations for all US residents. At some point the health and general safety of the public has to be taken into account. With the influx of immigrants from countries with diseases (once dormant in the US) that still run rampant, we are all getting exposed now. It is ludicrous to imagine how parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children in this day in age. How much does it cost tax payers to treat someone once they contract H1N1, versus the cost of vaccination? Seems a worth while investment.
  • Note: Thanks for all your comments. Wanted to give you a heads-up that IBJ is switching to new blogging software. As a result, any comments posted between 5 p.m. today and 8 a.m. Sunday will not be carried to the new system. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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