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Should Health Care Workers Have to Get a Flu Shot?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Yes, we've discussed it, but how about another go at this topic? I'm sort of spinning off of the "natural consequences" thread.

If you go to cochrane.org and enter "influenza vaccination" in the search bar, you'll pull up a wide array of independent meta-analyses. Most of them call into question the routine vaccination for influenza in healthy adults, children under 2, health care workers working with the elderly, and a variety of vulnerable, high-risk populations.

We also have newer evidence about health care workers from CIDRAP. http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2013/09/analysis-finds-limited-evidence-hcw-flu-vaccination

So first of all, if there is a lack of evidence supporting vaccinating health care workers in a nursing home setting--full of elderly individuals with a wide assortment of immuno-compromised conditions--what evidence do we have that it will be effective in a hospital setting--full of individuals of all ages with a wide assortment of immuno-compromised conditions?

Second, should people really be losing their informed consent rights--their right to weigh the evidence and say yes or no-- over a medical intervention with what we now know is only a 24% success rate? http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/02/spanish-study-finds-current-flu-vaccine-gives-limited-protection

Should people give up their rights over the philosophy that 24% is somehow better than 0%?

Frankly, in the case of coercive intervention, the burden of proof rests with those imposing and supporting the intervention. So for those of you who do support mandatory influenza vaccination for HCWs, what kind of proof can you provide that this is an effective practice? And when you make your case, how are you defining "effective?"
post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post


So first of all, if there is a lack of evidence supporting vaccinating health care workers in a nursing home setting--full of elderly individuals with a wide assortment of immuno-compromised conditions--what evidence do we have that it will be effective in a hospital setting--full of individuals of all ages with a wide assortment of immuno-compromised conditions?

 

I want to correct something that always gets brought up - nursing homes, they are NOT all elderly, many but clearly not all.

 

Many people do not realize that (what my state has) are nursing homes, most are run by the county and there are also private ones ($$$) but all except 18+, so this notion that only elderly are in is simply not the case. I know the support the flu side always seems to think we are talking about 65+ each and every time but that is not true.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
That's a good point. I've worked in a nursing home setting and observed the same thing. This further blurs the distinction between hospital and nursing home patients.

I'm curious what our regulars think of the latest research on this year's influenza vaccine. I found that 24% number pretty shocking.
post #4 of 5

No. No employment should require the acquisition of a substance injected into them.

 

I would object to an iron shot or vitamin shot.

 

You are an employee, not a slave.

post #5 of 5

Even if a vaccine is brilliantly effective and there is a current outbreak of a disease, I am not sure there are  grounds to insist a healthcare worker have a shot.  I need to to think about it. I definitely think non-invasive, risk free methods of disease control need to be explored (masks, desk duty, stay home when you are sick.)

 

The flu vaccine is hardly "brilliantly effective."

 

The case has not been made that the flu vaccines reduce transmission enough in hospital settings to warrant discussions of mandatory employee vaccination.  

  

 

Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post


Second, should people really be losing their informed consent rights--their right to weigh the evidence and say yes or no-- over a medical intervention with what we now know is only a 24% success rate? http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/02/spanish-study-finds-current-flu-vaccine-gives-limited-protection

Should people give up their rights over the philosophy that 24% is somehow better than 0%?
 

 

 

This was a pretty good read.  It discussed the differences between the Canadian estimate of effectiveness (70%) and the Spanish (24%).  Long story short - different strain were circulating in different countries and the Canadian study only had about 10% elderly in it, while the Spanish had 1/3.  Efficacy rates in elderly are known to be lower.  

 

I double checked a msm article to see if it let the public know that the Canadian study design had low elderly participation and thus would show more favourable results..nope.  Of course not.  So - 70% is being sold to the public as an average when really it is more like"average in people we know the flu vaccine works best on."

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-shot-offers-good-protection-against-serious-illness-for-2014-1.2525951

 

"The vaccine appeared to be about 71 per cent effective against all flu strains, and 74 per cent effective against H1N1, the strain responsible for more than nine in 10 of all confirmed flu infections this year in Canada, the study says."

 

OTOH, the Spanish study saying 24% may also be misleading.  Is 1/3 of their population really elderly?

When you look at effectiveness rates in the under 65's in Spain, it was quite a bit higher than 24%.

 

I suppose the take-away message is you need to look at study design and not just take msm articles at face value.  That might be something we can all agree on, lol.  


Edited by kathymuggle - 2/18/14 at 6:43am
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