Saturday, January 5, 2013

Another Look at the Flu Shot


As I look at articles posted on the net, I see more & more nurses are being fired for not getting the flu shot as mandated by their employer.  The employers are saying that getting the flu shot will reduce the risk of transmission to their patients.  Is this really the fact?  What does research actually say?

The Cochrane Institute did 25 studies that involved over 59,000 participants & found that

“There is no reliable evidence that inactivated influenza vaccines [the standard types of vaccines of today] affect either person-to-person spread of influenza or complications such as death or pneumonia…and [this] relates both to healthcare workers, community-dwellers and people in institutions.”

Another interesting point of this study was -

Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalised or working days lost.

Another interesting point of these studies is -

The review showed that reliable evidence on the flu vaccine is thin but there is wide spread evidence of wide spread manipulation of concluions and spurious notoriety of the studies.

Widespread manipulation?  Considering that the vaccine industry helped fund 15 of the studies, this is no surprise to me.

So, why is there the push to vaccinate health care workers?  Why are employers telling their nurses, even ones that have been there for over 20 years, get your flu shot or else.  The Department of Health & Human Services want employers to have a 90% flu shot rate.  Starting this year, health care providers could see a cut in their Medicare funding if they don't report vaccination rates.  Once again it all boils down to  one word - money.  Money for health care providers & money for big pharma.

Does OSHA support the mandation of the flu shot?  Here is what OSHA says about the flu shot.

"Although OSHA does not specifically require employees to take the vaccines, an employer may do so. In that case, an employee who refuses vaccination because of a reasonable belief that he or she has a medical condition that creates a real danger of serious illness or death (such as serious reaction to the vaccine) may be protected under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 pertaining to whistle blower rights. "

This section basically states that an employee can't be discriminated against as filed a complaint under this act. 

So why do hospitals continue to mandate the flu shot for their employees & threaten termination if they don't get it or at least mandate them to wear a mask if they don't?  This is a good question.  The requirement of an employee having to wear a mask is identifying them as a person that refuses to comply with the flu shot mandation. 

This is a topic that needs to be addressed by nurses, CNAs & other health care providers.

Until next time,

Works Cited -

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