Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flu Shots

There has been a lot of controversy lately about flu shots, who should get them and if they should be mandatory for health care workers. I fall into the last category; I work at a hospital. While I don't often interact directly with patients, when I do, they are usually immuno-compromised individuals.

My hospital just started it's employee & volunteer flu shot campaign. They do one every year. Where I work (as is the case for most hospitals) a flu shot is not mandatory. It is elective for employees whether they get one or not. However, if you elect not to get the flu shot, you have to sign a waiver (less common among hospitals, from what I understand). Basically, all employees are required to either get a flu shot of sign a waiver. Those who sign the waiver do so with an understanding that if a breakout occurs, they may be asked to give up working hours or wear a mask to protect patients.

I think this is a good policy. It addresses the agency of each employee but also accounts for the health of patients in the event of a severe situation. Most hospitals have employee vaccination rates around 50%. My hospital system is around 80%. I know the critics out there will still be saying that employees without the vaccine are still caring for patients, which is true. But we also have a much higher rate of immunization.

Despite my fear of needles, I got my flu shot today. I will be getting them for my girls when they are available at their pediatrician's office. The CDC is saying there won't be a shortage of vaccine like there was last year. I haven't been a big believer in flu shots, but I think the benefit outweighs the risk.


Kristina P. said...

I don't usually get a flu shot, but I'm not opposed to them. Just lazy.

Ellis Family said...

The kids and I will get one. Ever since I started teaching it's just something that seems to make sense. Kids (students) are germ bags!

Kris said...

Bug got hers last weekend, and Schmoopsie and I did, too. I don't claim to be a know it all about flu shots, but I can't imagine how awful I'd feel if my tiny one got seriously ill after I HADN'T taken advantage of immunizations.

Mary said...

It's also smart that this year they included the H1N1 vaccine IN the annual flu shot. Some people don't realize that the swine flu hits 20-30 yr olds the hardest!
And, since taking microbiology 3 years ago...I'm definitely getting my flu shot...I already asked, and ours arrives next week!