The Big Question, Vaccinate or Not ?
By Dr. Bruce Theall
March 23, 2015
Category: other
Tags: vaccinations   flu shot  

Several major health organizations support mandatory vaccines for health care workers t lessen the chance of transmission. However a number of New Jersey hospitals, including some of the largest health systems in the state, do not require staffers who work around patients to be vaccinated against the flu. Some health officials and professional organizations say the flu vaccine is an essential measure to protect against transmitting the virus to vulnerable patients and colleagues. There are no exact records on hospitals that mandate flu vaccinations.

Since vaccinations reduce the risk of spreading the virus to co-workers and the community, those who opt-out of mandated vaccinations are required to wear a mask when they work near patients or they should have duties reassigned away from patients. The flu vaccination could be particularly important during the seasons in which strains of the Type A flu dominates, due to the fact that this strand is associated with more severe illnesses and more flu-related deaths.

The flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, but the CDC says if a vaccinated person does get the flu, the vaccine helps lower the severity of the symptoms, However this year’s vaccine formula is not a good match with one of the strains of Type A in circulation, lowering its effectiveness further. Although health organizations are moving towards mandating flu vaccines, experts say that they will still have to respect the rights of workers and patients in determining the vaccination policy. Internal communication programs will need to be set-up in order to educate employees on the benefits of the vaccines as well including frequent presentations, videos and mandatory educational training programs. Ultimately the question will remain a personal one in regards to being vaccinated or not but with the onset of educational information each person will be able to make and informative decision that can benefit themselves and others around them.

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