NY healthcare workers under the gun for flu shots

By: August 11th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Healthcare workers in New York may be required to get immunized for seasonal and H1N1 influenza in the next few months.

The NY State Hospital Review and Planning Council (SHRPC) has approved an emergency regulation requiring influenza vaccinations for healthcare personnel, reports the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS).

The emergency regulation would become effective when filed with the NY Department of State and would apply to “all personnel working in hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centers, certified home health agencies, long-term home health care programs, acquired immune deficiency syndrome home care programs, licensed home care service agencies, and hospices,” reports HANYS. Regulations applying to nursing home personnel would require action by the state legislature.

Departmental of Health officials have said the regulation could also apply to the H1N1 vaccine series if it becomes available and there are sufficient supplies, according to the HANYS release.

Exemption from the mandate would apply to workers with medical contraindications, who have no patient contact, or only incidental contact with direct-care staff members, and exemptions would require documentation.

The New York State Nurses Association, which strongly supports increased flu shot education and vaccination rates among the profession, opposes the action because of its mandatory nature.

In 2006 the Washington State Nurses Association successfully beat back an attempt by Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle that required all nurse to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza.

The situation in New York, however,  is different in that it is state initiated.

For influenza pandemic plans and an influenza vaccination declination form, go to the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Tools page.

Are mandatory measures the only sure-fire way to increase influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers? Is the H1N1 threat this fall enough of a reason to resort to emergency regulations? Would you comply to keep your job? Let us know in the comment section below.


By I see IGNORANT people on October 7th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Dear Christine
Regarding your link to Robert F. Kennedy’s website that contains a PDF file about a possible link between thimerosol and autism.

Multi-dose vials of H1N1 vaccine contain safe amounts of thimerosal, a vaccine preservative, which prevents contamination with bacteria and fungi.
Thimerosal, which contains some mercury, is a preservative used in multi-dose vials of vaccine. It is not added to either live attenuated (the nasal spray) or single dose vaccines. Thimerosal is used in multi-dose vials to prevent contamination with bacteria and fungi that could result from repeated punctures when drawing vaccine from the vial. No ill effects other than minor local reactions at the site of reaction have been established when using vaccines containing thimerosal.

No causal connection has been found linking the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative and the incidence of autism, speech or language delay, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
There has been some public concern about the vaccine preservative thimerosal causing autism. During the 1990s, thimerosal was eliminated from being used as a preservative in most vaccines by replacing multi-use vials with single dose vials that did not require preservatives. This reduced the amount of thimerosal (and therefore mercury) used in vaccines for children, who typically receive many vaccinations during their first two years. However, autism rates have not declined. Despite numerous large scientific studies exploring this issue, no connection between the vaccine preservative thimerosal and autism has been identified.

By I see IGNORANT people on October 7th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

The researcher who first proposed a link between vaccinations and autism theorized that the thimerosal in vaccines, which contains mercury, might be responsible for brain dysfunction in developing children. Mercury is a known neurotoxin; it seemed likely that there might be a connection, and the knowledge of mercury’s effects made the link plausible.

But the research showed that the theory just didn’t pan out. Children who are not immunized are just as likely to be autistic as children who are.

And, of course, modern pediatric vaccines do not contain mercury, so even if there had been a link, it’s a dead issue now.

Still, that does not stop worried parents from latching on to this idea because it gives them a sense of power and control over a very frightening and potentially devastating thing. Parents generally want to protect their children, and they want to keep them safe. If someone comes along and tells you “Do what I say and your child will be protected from autism,” well, a lot of people will believe him.

Many parents have tales of how their child seemed normal before a vaccine and displayed signs of autism some time after. This is to be expected; children who are autistic start showing signs of it at about the same age when children get their first immunizations. As the anti-vaccination people like to point out when talking about immunity: correlation does not show causation! Yet in this case, they ignore their own reasoning.

By Christine MSN, RN,CCRN,CEN on October 7th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

I see IGNORANT people,
I will assume that you do not work in healthcare because those of us who are educated professionals know that in order to determine the validity of a study there are a number of factors that need to be assessed such as the methodology, independent/dependent variables, the financial disclosure of the person or company conducting the study, etc. In order to make an educated decision (as you are encouraging us to do) you will need to post the link to or at the very least the citation of your information as Judy K did above on the Cochrane database article. Without this information everything you are posting is rhetoric.

And in reference to your again rhetorical post and “the removal of thimersol in childhood vaccines”, please reread your statement and refer page 6 of the Deadly Immunity Report I posted previously.

By I see IGNORANT people on October 7th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Dear Christine MSN etc

Rather than posting articles from a political website (Seriously, Robert Kennedy Jr, an environmental attorney and consumer advocate, is now an expert on vaccinations?), do what healthcare professionals like myself do. Go to the scientific literature. The article you posted from Robert Kennedy Jr’s page is not consistent with scientific studies regarding thimerosol, as found on the CDC and other public health websites which publish information based on evidence. I would counter that your one reference by Kennedy is the same rhetoric you rail against. Just out of curiousity, which anti-vacination organization do you represent?

Here are the scientific references to support my previous posts regarding effectiveness/safety of flu vaccines and thimerosol.

1. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. SHEA Position Paper: Influenza vaccination of healthcare workers and vaccine allocation for healthcare workers during vaccine shortages, 2005. Available at http://www.shea-online.org/Assets/files/HCW_Flu_Position_Paper_FINAL_9-28.pdf. Accessed 05/07/07.

2. Carman WF, Elder AG, Wallace LA, et al. Effects of influenza vaccination of health-care workers on mortality of elderly people in long-term care: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2000 Jan 8;355(9198):93-7.

3. Potter J, Stott DJ, Roberts MA, et al. Influenza vaccination of health care workers in long-term-care hospitals reduces the mortality of elderly patients. J Infect Dis. 1997 Jan;175(1):1-6.

4. Ludwig-Beymer P, Gerc SC. An influenza prevention campaign: the employee perspective. J Nurs Care Qual. 2002 Apr;16(3):1-12.

5. Stott DJ, Kerr G, Carman WF. Nosocomial transmission of influenza. Occup Med (Lond). 2002 Aug;52(5):249-53.

6. Salgado CD, Farr BM, Hall KK, Hayden FG. Influenza in the acute hospital setting. Lancet Infect Dis. 2002 Mar;2(3):145-55. Review. Erratum in: Lancet Infect Dis 2002 Jun;2(6):383.

7. Wilde JA, McMillan JA, Serwint J, Butta J, O’Riordan MA, Steinhoff MC. Effectiveness of influenza vaccine in health care professionals. A randomized trial. JAMA 1999;281:908–13.

8. Bridges CB, Thompson WW, Meltzer MI, Reeve GR, Talamonti WJ, Cox NJ, et al. Effectiveness and cost-benefit of influenza vaccination of healthy working adults: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2000;284:1655–63.

9. Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Rivetti D, Deeks J. Prevention and early treatment of influenza in healthy adults. Vaccine 2000;18:957–1030.

10. Carman WF, Elder AG, Wallace LA, et al. Effects of influenza vaccination of health-care workers on mortality of elderly people in long-term care: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2000 Jan 8;355(9198):93-7.

11. Potter J, Stott DJ, Roberts MA, et al. Influenza vaccination of health care workers in long-term-care hospitals reduces the mortality of elderly patients. J Infect Dis. 1997 Jan;175(1):1-6.

12. Nichol KL, Lind A, Margolis KL, Murdoch M, McFadden R, Hauge M, et al. The effectiveness of vaccination against influenza in healthy, working adults. N Engl J Med 1995;333:889–93.

13. Carman WF, Elder AG, Wallace LA, McAulay K, Walker A, Murray GD, et al. Effects of influenza vaccination of health-care workers on mortality of elderly people in long-term care: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2000;355:93–7.

14. Lester RT, McGeer A, Tomlinson G, Detsky AS. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2003 Nov;24(11):839-44. 15Partnership for Prevention. Strengthening adult immunization: a call to action. Available at http://prevent.org/images/stories/Files/docs/CalltoAction.pdf. Accessed 05/07/07.

16. National Quality Forum. Safe practices for better healthcare: 2006 Update—a consensus report. Washington DC, 2006.

17. Ball LK, Ball R, Pratt RD. An assessment of thimerosal use in childhood vaccines. Pediatrics 2001;1147-1154.

18. Burbacher T.M., Shen D.D., Liberato, N., Grant, K.S., Cernichiari, E. and Clarkson, T. Comparison of blood and brain mercury levels in infant monkeys exposed to methylmercury or vaccines containing thimerosal. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005; doi:10.1289/ehp.7712

19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Notice to Readers: Thimerosal in Vaccines: A Joint Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service. Morb Mort Wkly Rep 1999;48:563-565.

20. IOM ( Institute of Medicine). Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2004

By I see IGNORANT people on October 7th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

PS Christine
Have YOU gotten your flu shot yet?

By I see IGNORANT people on October 7th, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Re: Christine’s original post

From your previous post, I’m picking up 2 concerns from you:

1. That you are not ok with mandatory flu shots (as compared to PPD or MMR or HBV) because this new requirement is not something you knew about prior to employement. If you have known about it, would you have accepted the job offer?

2. You don’t think the H1N1 vaccine has been tested (“a drug that has only been approved for 2 weeks” as you put it).

Regarding #1, conditions of employment may change over time. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to add an annual flu vaccination to yearly employee requirements like getting a PPD, providing proof of immunity from MMR vaccine, HBV titer, etc.

Regarding #2, the H1N1 vaccine is made by the same manufacturers using the same equipment, techniques, and process used to make seasonal flu vaccine safely for the past 40 years. The only difference is the flu strain used, which changes every year anyway. So I’m unclear as to why you are concerned about the safety of the H1N1 or seasonal flu vaccines?

Just out of curiousity, are you opposed to vaccinations as a whole or just this situation because the state of NY has mandated the flu shot for HCW’s? Just trying to understand where you’re coming from.

Just an FYI, pregnancy does not preclude you from getting a PPD. There is no known risk in getting a PPD during pregnancy. Since the PPD is not an infectious agent or a medication that gets into your system, there is no risk for the baby.

I’m surprised no one has filed a federal lawsuit at their local federal building in NY state. From what I understand any single person (group of people or petition not necessary) can file a suit for $50.00 with no lawyer, and it’s quite possible a judge will stop the vaccinations until a decision is made.

My husband and I both have to get the vaccines. I refuse to take medications unless necessary or I am near death! This is an infringement on my personal rights. I am a dedicated healthcare employee most healthcare employess that I know NEVER get the flu shot and rarely get sick. This includes MDs and RNs.Other comments have been “get the vaccine or get another job”. This is discrimination. If I have HIV should I not be able to have surgery? Granted not communicable but if my surgeon gets cut during surgery I do not have to let him know or agree to get tested for HIV? Let him decide to take the medications for precautionary measures. Hey he is a healthcare worker and if he does not like it-get another job! are you kidding me?! We are looking into hiring a laywer as this is wrong. If I get Guillain Barre maybe someone from the state will come to my home to take care of me? Oh that is right I forgot I need to sign a release that the pharmaceutical company, state and my employer are not held responsible. Disgusted in NY.

By I see IGNORANT people on October 8th, 2009 at 9:55 am

Dear Kathy
Vaccinating HCWs against influenza represents a duty of care, and a standard of quality care so it should be reasonable that this duty should supercede HCW personal preference. Where’s the concern for the civil rights of patients who get sick or die from infections passed to them from healthcare workers: infections that could have easily been prevented?

Transmission of influenza from HCWs to patients has been documented in nearly every health care setting. Multiple studies show that 70 percent or more of HCWs CONTINUE TO WORK despite being ill with influenza, increasing exposure of patients and co-workers.

Joint Commission and CMMS have been pushing hospitals to increase flu vaccination rates in healthcare workers as part of nationwide patient safety goals. It’s no longer acceptable to have staff vaccination rates of 30-40%. Voluntary vaccination doesn’t work anymore. This is the same influenza vaccine that has been around for 40 years with a long established safety record.

There is a much higher risk of getting Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) from having influenza illness than from getting vaccinated for influenza.
GBS is a rare condition that can follow an intestinal or respiratory illness, including influenza. In fact, GBS is four to seven times more common after influenza illness than after influenza vaccination. However, the infection that most commonly precedes GBS is caused by bacteria called Campylobacter that causes diarrhea. In the U.S., there are about 3,000 – 6,000 cases of GBS per year (or one to two cases per 100,000 adults) that are not related to influenza vaccination. There is about one additional GBS case per million persons vaccinated that is associated with influenza vaccine.

Often, people think about the 1976 swine flu when thinking about GBS. Here are the facts. In January of 1976, a new pandemic swine influenza was identified in Fort Dix, New Jersey. One soldier died, four had pneumonia, and over 200 were infected. About 40 million people were vaccinated. There was an increased rate of GBS, one additional case per 100,000 people vaccinated. Since then, several studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines manufactured since 1976 were associated with GBS. Only one of the studies showed an association. That study suggested that one person out of 1 million vaccinated persons may be at risk of GBS associated with the influenza vaccine.

I would like to see what happens if you bring in a legal document to your hospital employer saying, “This hospital shall hereby be responsible for any and all damages received from the n1h1 vaccination and will pay all medical expenses related to any side effect of the n1h1 vaccination plus damages for lost work time, well being, and emotional damage-” What would they say if you said, “Ok. I’m ready for my shot. Please sign here.”

By Christine MSN, RN, CCRN, CEN on October 11th, 2009 at 8:21 am

I see ignornant people,
It’s taken me a few days to check out the sources you listed, but I was able to find quite a few of them.
I am not against vaccines that have been thoroughly tested and have been proven to produce immunity by isolating a single strand of the virus such as MMR & DPT. (A PPD is not a vaccine. It’s a test to see if you have been exposed to TB. I was also able to decline it the year that I was pregnant as my OB/GYN was not interested in taking any chances after I had suffered two previous miscarriages that year.)
Hep B on the other hand is not a communicable disease, it’s a blood borne pathogen. If you don’t expose yourself then why would you need it? So mandating it is not necessary in my opinion. Not all healthcare workers are having unprotected sex with those suffering from the disease and with the advances in the safety mechanisms of needles it’s not enough evidence in my opinion to mandate it. What’s even worse is they give it to a one day old infant? I wonder why that would be? Wait, I’ve got it. Big Pharma! Someone put out a study somewhere that said it was a good idea and those with vested financial interest started pushing it on our children. Too bad they need a booster at age 10 as well. That is what I’m against. No, I’m not part of some conspiracy theory group, but I am thankful for consumer advocates like RFK for putting out information that is not tainted with garbage. Of course the information in his report isn’t consistant with the information put out on public health websites! He’s not being funded to skew the data. He’s not an expert on influenza vaccines or autism but he is an expert on environmental toxins which vaccines contain.

I found that at least 12 of the “scientific evidence” references in your previous post have financial disclosures were supported by drug companies. This also includes the study that you discuss above in your response to Kathy. I also noticed that only 2 of those references where published in the last 5 years.
The problem is it’s gotten so far out of hand that even we in healthcare don’t realize it’s going on right in front of our noses.
You asked where am I coming from on this subject. Everyone is entitled to understand the risks and benefits from scientific evidence that is NOT funded by drug companies. We should also be entitled to some type of recourse if something happens (even though you note that it’s 1 in 100,000, which I will agree is rare, but it’s still a RISK that is very debilitating. Trust me I’ve taken care of several patients with GBS) When vaccine manufacturers were given immunity that was a HUGE red flag and it should be to everyone! Especially now that it has come down to mandating, belittling, harrassing, and blackmailing HCWs to get vaccinated. If we are resorting to this then there is a problem.
I’ll be honest up until a few years ago, I myself didn’t realize what was going on when I carried around a pocket full of drug company pens, ate $100 a plate “educational” dinners, and asked for my free sample of the newest antibiotic at my doctor’s office. What changed? I was asked to speak for one of these companies, and was hired by an another medical equipment manufacturer as a “educational consultant”. I was appalled to find out what actually happens on the inside.

So, you and others can try and intimidate HCWs by calling us ignorant, stupid, selfish, lazy, and leaving off my credentials. If it makes you feel better then go ahead, I think it’s sad. It also doesn’t change the fact that the information being put out to us and the public is not completely valid scientific evidence. It deserves to be taken with some hesitency. When healthcare has changed to the point that this is accepted practice, and doesn’t enourage open communication and true informed consent many of us have reservations about what we are doing. It’s not why Americans have voted us the number one “most trusted” profession for the last 10 years.

Also, please excuse the run-on sentences, and typos. I’m exhausted from taking care of my two beautiful children who both suffer from autism spectrum disorders that nobody in the vaccine industry seems to have an answer as to why 1 in 100 children are now affected with the disease. Funny though that their neurodevelopmental specialist notes that it’s virtually non-existent in religions where vaccines are not given. I know his opinion is not consistant with the “valid scientific literature” that you posted, but he’s not being paid by a drug company to skew his opinion. But then again he enjoys eating GRANOLA with us when we go for our appointments so maybe that makes him a quack in your opinion too! 🙂 Have a nice day, and enjoy that Arizona sun as that has been proven to help prevent influenza.

dear christine


i dropped out of this debate when david lahoda quoted dr schafner, chief of infectious disease somewhere prestigious.

when i googled this doctor i found that he was a consultant to the same five drug companies awarded the privledge of manufactoring the infulenza vaccines!

i found that battling with uneducated and down right hostile people is exhausting. but you did a great job. and the state (NY) is finally being challenged legally for this mandate.

i do hope that those who oppose this will NOT accept it, and let their facilities see what dec. 1st looks like when they have no staff.

By Christine MSN, RN, CCRN, CEN on October 11th, 2009 at 9:59 am

Thanks Arlene! In my opinion all of this “show of force” should be put towards zero tolerance for infection control measures in hospitals such as stringent hand washing, the use of standard,contact & droplet precautions (which includes the use of the “expensive” N95 masks instead of the little surgical masks that leak that the NYSDOH tells us are fine to use), judicious use of invasive lines, and strict aseptic technique with insertion. Also, how about supporting staff to stay home when they are ill as well. (wouldn’t that be a novel idea?) All of which have been proven to prevent the transmission of nosocomial infection. Instead the CDC recommends “re-education” for those found not washing their hands, but annual education on why it’s important. Sorry, but if anything is IGNORANT it’s this. Knowledge deficit shouldn’t be an excuse when you recieve annual education on the topic and you also learn in kindergarten that you should wash your hands and cover your mouth & nose when you cough or sneeze. But then again the only company that might make money on mandating this would be Kleenex or the soap company, right? We are also taught that exercise and a healthy diet are important for good health, but yet we serve pudding, cheese steaks, and soda to our patients.
Sorry for the use of satire, but you are right the hostility is truly exhausting.

By I see IGNORANT people on October 12th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Christine and Arlene

I guess in some circles a link to ‘big pharma’ can seem like a conspiracy. But the world (including healthcare) is inter-related and linked. I work closely with public health but that doesnt’ mean I’m tied to them to the point I would manipulate data. Nor could I be paid to do so. The field of experts in these areas are closely linked through professional networking, but that doesn’t imply conspiracy IMHO.

I did some further research on the net regarding RFK Jr. and the information from him that you posted on here has been completely debunked. See links at bottom of page.

Also using N-95 respirator masks for influenza (seasonal or H1N1) is still being reviewed. Current isolation guidelines state that surgical masks are used for droplet precautions and have been adequate for seasonal influenza and other respiratory viral infections for years. We’re still waiting for the CDC to issue final guidelines on N-95 respirators vs surgical masks for H1N1 flu. Right now we are using a tiered approach: surgical mask when entering the patient’s room; wear N-95 respirator mask when performing aerosol generating procedures such as intubation, suctioning, etc. Here’s a recent study that found no difference between N-95 masks and surgical masks when caring for H1N1 patients:

I have to admit I’m disappointed seeing a well-known educator for MedEd espousing anti-vaccination views. But I can understand that the ‘vaccines cause autism’ drum has been beaten for so long and so loudly that it’s hard for folks to give it up, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. It’s a catch 22 with the anti-vaccination folks. When new studies come out that refute any link between vaccines and autism, the anti-vaccination folks cry cover up and conspiracy. But if that’s your schtick, then so be it. With new government funded research into autism, I think they will find a genetic link. So let’s wish these new efforts success and luck.

I think the response of NY nurses has been way out of proportion to a flu shot. Unfortunately it’s been used as a vehicle of distraction by anti-vaccination advocates and conspiracy theorists. I do hope the NY Dept of Health sticks to their guns on this one because it’s an undisputed fact: healthcare workers spread flu to patients and coworkers. Vaccination remains the best way to break that link.

It’s been interesting and stimulating to discuss different views on here, at times passionately. But passion is not a bad thing when it comes to patient safety and healthcare. I wish everyone well during this most unusual flu season.

And please get your flu shot!

Christine, unfortunately sunshine doesn’t prevent influenza. We saw elevated flu activity here all summer long. Arizona is currently at widespread flu activity levels, but I don’t think that’s a conspiracy. 😉

By I see IGNORANT people on October 12th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

RFK Jr debunked:

And another: skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/06/lies_damn_lies_.html

And more bad news for anti-vaccination folks:

And just for giggles, info about certain religious groups that don’t have high vaccination rates still get autiusm:

Here’s the report that the H1N1 vaccines have been approved by the FDA:

dear i see, or david, or whoever you are;

the arguement about autism and vaccines is meaningless to me. i am not one of those dessenters.

plainly, i do not want reassorted viral particles injected into my body. in twenty years we may not be at all happy about what we find in those who have gotten the varicella, or guardisil.

most of our other vaccinations have a few generations of experience in the states and in europe. but even europe has only a 50% flu vaccination rate. people are becoming skeptics.

like i said once before, if this was ebola, i may have to reconsider my choice. but i do not fall within the parameters of the general public who are majorly advised to get the flu vaccinaion.

december 1st the hospitals will cease to function.

i can not persuade you, nor should i. and you should have nothing to say about my decision.

By I see IGNORANT people on October 12th, 2009 at 5:46 pm


I still don’t see why there is so much fuss over a flu shot. It’s the same flu shot that people have been getting for over 20 years. The only difference is the strain of flu used to make it. So the flu shot IS one of the vaccines that has ‘a few generations of experience in the states and europe’ as you put it. There are no ‘re-assorted viral particles’; only killed (unable to cause infection) flu viruses. Is your decision based on science or irrational fears? I honestly just don’t get the whole flu vaccine paranoia, especially among healthcare workers who should know better.

According to a New York media source, “About 200 health care employees rallied in Albany demanding state drop the requirement to help stem spread of H1N1 virus, but health officials stick to their guns”. 200 protesters isn’t enough to bring healthcare in NY to a screeching halt. One thing I’ve learned in my 20 years in healthcare: no one is irreplacable (no matter how much you think you may be). On the bright side, sounds like there will be a few job openings in December for new grads and other applicants.

I am absolutely appauled that the NY state gov’t is threatening health care workers jobs… We put our lives on the line everyday, walking into TB rooms, rooms with children that haven’t been diasgnosed yet and the risks we take every day brining something home to our families.. and possibly our unborn babies.. My theory is this…. The people who truely don’t want to be forced to take this, DON’t.. When 1 nurse calls into our hospital, on our floor, it is mass chaos. Imagine several hundred. If we allow the gov’t to do this, this yr, what will they push on us next year? Someone is getting paid in the health dept! Easch vaccine costs 24.95.. We are pumping this stuff into thousands of people. The nasal spray is dangerous to the public, since it sheds from your nasal for 21 days… I personally think this eventually could become Bioterrorism.. Think about it. All we need is 1 terrorist making this in these companies and think about how many people we are affecting. I’m not crazy.. i am a soldier in The United States Army!!!!!!!!!! Keep your selves and your children safe…..

By I see IGNORANT people on October 12th, 2009 at 6:29 pm


Getting a flu shot is meant to protect your patients, yourself, and your family so you don’t bring the flu home to them or pass it along to others. Again the flu shot has been manufactured by the same process for 40 years, and has an excellent track record for safety and effectiveness. The only thing different about the H1N1 flu shot is the influenza viral strain used, and that’s only because last spring when H1N1 first appeared, the seasonal flu vaccine was too far along in manufacturing for them to change the recipe to include H1N1.

No one in the health dept gets a kick back from flu vaccines. In fact state and local health depts often function on a shoe string budget and have for years.

Regarding the flumist nasal flu vaccine spray, shedding of the virus does not equal transmission of vaccine viruses. Because vaccine virus is highly attenuated (i.e. severely weakened), even if vaccine virus is shed, it is less likely than wild-type influenza virus to cause illness and the complications associated with wild-type influenza virus infection in exposed patients and other contacts. Also remember that people who are actually sick with influenza shed lots of full-strength flu virus that can actually make people sick. Flumist is not a danger to the general public.

The only healthcare workers who should NOT receive flumist are those who care for severely immunocompromised patients (e.g., patients with hematopoietic stem cell transplants) during those periods when the immunocompromised person requires care in a protective environment (i.e. positive pressure room with HEPA filtered air).

I hope these facts help alleviate some of your fears. And thanks for the service you do for our country. 🙂

By I see IGNORANT people on October 12th, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Did Alex Jones put a link to this webpage in one of his ‘forums’? Jeez.

Just a thought, ‘I see IGNORANT people’ you may want to change your name. It really makes it hard to take anything you post seriously. You come off like a petulant child with your silly name making fun of those people trying to have an intelligent discussion. You may have good points, but I really find myself skipping everything you write simply out of instinct to avoid nonsense or infantile posturing. So, no offense, but the rest of this post is really for everyone else.

I just received both my flu treatments this week – my seasonal shot and my nasal pig flu experience. I had planned on doing so before the mandate was handed down by the Man. My argument is not with the idea of the vaccine as much as it is with the audacity of the government telling me to immunize or get out.

Although, I personally find that I have been feeling pretty ill since the H1N1 nasal treatment, but I am unsure as to whether that is psychsomatic. Anyone else take the vaccine and feel ill?

And as others have posted, the documentation and science behind all this is pretty weak. Pretty weak indeed.

By Christine MSN, RN, CCRN, CEN on October 13th, 2009 at 6:59 am

It is unfortunate that public forums such as this devolve into a petty name calling contest where cheap shots are the norm and intelligence discourse is notably absent. It is also calamitous when those of us who are in the position of upholding protected information would resort to using that same information in an attempt to discredit and shame someone into halting their freedom to share their own professional and personal story. Misquoting or should I say fabrication of the idea that I am part of a “anti-vaccination group” is libel. It is a very concerning, and malicious act for someone in a position such as the “public health” arena and healthcare in general.

Nursing is a highly respected profession, and we all have an obligation to reflect our profession well, especially in public venues. Often forums that develop in response to controversial articles or opinion pieces become coarse venues for hot-tempered individuals to vent their spleen without the inherent risks of doing so in person. But there is value in anonymity. Here, on the internet, we can express our opinions easily and freely without having to bow to the pressures placed upon us by our jobs and professional interests. Here we can speak as adults, and debate without malice. Here we can take risks and simply address the debate at hand. Who we are, outside of our professional identities, need not enter into it.

Let’s debate the true issue at hand here , which precisely what all of us were encouraged by the author to do at the inception of this blog. How is it ethical for a governing body to dictate vaccination to a specific group? You see, it is the ethics which we should be debating. This topic has vast potential for all of our growth and development, and it doesn’t matter what company we work for, because all opinions have value.

I could have continued this mudslinging and childish exchange but I realized that the point of the argument was getting lost in all the chaos. With a little time on Google or poking around looking at email addresses I too could probably find out what special interests might lay behind certain opinions. It is my hope that this forum was not set up simply to provide a soapbox for someone’s personal edification. We all have the potential to be better than that.

Debate is important. Debate allows us to challenge our personal perceptions of the world around us. But debate needs to be driven by intelligent thought and an open mind. I am reminded of HCPro’s mission and culture statements, which encourages this sort of open and mindful discussion. We should all be committed to creating an environment that is ethical, fair, and values diversity, at home and in our jobs. We should all strive to provide each other with opportunities for professional and personal growth. Don’t you agree?

In response to the preceding author’s question, psychosomatic or not it still affects your ability to perform your job when you are not on top of your game. That is an unfortunate event as you along with all HCWs out there are in great demand to provide care to your patients and families. I wish you a speedy recovery!

By Flu shots save lives on October 13th, 2009 at 10:42 am


Points taken so I changed my named to “Flu shots save lives”. And just for the record I have no links, financial or otherwise, to pharmaceutical companies, or any corporate entity for that matter. You’ll just have to hold your nose when you read my posts and hopefully take the message and disregard your problems with the messenger. I created my name out of response to some of the irrational posts on here and from the general public on other sites that were full of gross misinformation. It’s one thing to fearmonger with conspiracy theories and half truths, but it’s another thing to alleviate fear with facts.

I’ve read and heard every conspiracy theory about flu shots the past few weeks: flu shots contain aborted babies, flu shots are being used by (insert secret world goverment cabal here) to sterilize people, flu shots are being used to reduce the population, etc. There is so much paranoia and insanity in the general public now, and it’s disheartening to see that same misinformation among healthcare workers.

You mentioned in your post:
“Although, I personally find that I have been feeling pretty ill since the H1N1 nasal treatment, but I am unsure as to whether that is psychsomatic. Anyone else take the vaccine and feel ill?”.

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘feeling prety ill’ after receiving your flumist nasal vaccine? Common side effects of flumist are: runny nose, congestion, sore throat, and fever. You can also have chills, cough, decreased activity, decreased appetite, headaches, irritability, muscle aches, and tiredness. That doesns’t mean everyone will have them. But it sounds like from your post that you are experiencing some of them. On one occasion I felt ‘achy’ and tired after getting a flu shot, but I was fine after a good night’s rest. Hopefully that will be true in your case when you wake up this morning. And kudos to you for doing the right thing by getting your flu vaccinations!

Regarding your comment:
“And as others have posted, the documentation and science behind all this is pretty weak. Pretty weak indeed.” What specifically is weak about the science? The H1N1 virus appeared on the scene after the manufacturing process for the seasonal flu vaccine was already too far along to alter the formula, hence a 2nd vaccine was needed to cover H1N1. If H1N1 had appeared in December or January, it would have been included in the regular seasonal flu vaccine and there would only be one flu shot for this season, hence no debates or wild conspiracy theories. This is the same flu shot that has been manufactured for 40 years by the same process. The flu shots have an excellent record of safety and effectiveness. Both seasonal and H1N1 flu shots have undergone the same approval process they always have. And there are plenty of studies to support the efficacy of flu shots at preventing influenza.

Regarding the ethics of mandating vaccination for healthcare workers, I think Dr. Daines (NY State Health Commissioner) sums it up nicely:

“Questions about safety and claims of personal preference are understandable. Given the outstanding efficacy and safety record of approved influenza vaccines, our overriding concern then, as health care workers, should be the interests of our patients, not our own sensibilities about mandates. On this, the facts are very clear: the welfare of patients is, without any doubt, best served by the very high rates of staff immunity that can only be achieved with mandatory influenza vaccination – not the 40-50% rates of staff immunization historically achieved with even the most vigorous of voluntary programs. Under voluntary standards, institutional outbreaks occur every flu season. Medical literature convincingly demonstrates that high levels of staff immunity confer protection on those patients who cannot be or have not been effectively vaccinated themselves, while also allowing the institution to remain more fully staffed.”

“Throughout this fall and winter, more patients than ever may enter our hospitals and clinics without effective influenza immunity. Some will be too young or have other contraindications to vaccination or will have failed to receive vaccinations for a variety of reasons. Others will be too frail for vaccination to be effective. Large numbers of people quite clearly would like to take the new H1N1 vaccine as soon as it is available but will be denied that opportunity because they do not fall into one of the first prioritized groups. For all of these individuals, safety lies in being treated in institutions and by health care personnel with the nearly 100% effective immunity rates seen with other long-mandated vaccinations for health care workers, such as measles and rubella.”

It was a bold move by the NY Dept of Health, but this has been done by individual hospital in different parts of the country with much success. And the current levels of 40-50% vaccination rates among healthcare workers and the ongoing occurence of institutional influenza outbreaks (some of which result in patient deaths) show that voluntary influenza vaccination campaigns among healthcare workers just aren’t working. I think the fact that it’s a goverment body mandating a vaccine rather than individual hospitals feeds on people’s fears of the government and conspiracy theories.

Christine, you have some valid points but you have to realize that to others, SOME of your opinions expressed on here do come across as anti-vaccination, not that you represent an anti-vaccination group. If you’ve chosen to be part of an anti-vaccination group, that’s your choice. I think the science behind RFK Jr’s claims regarding vaccines and cover ups have been discredited. So I don’t consider him a valid resource of information since I think he’s just parroting the rhetoric of the folks who are opposed to all vaccinations.

Any thoughts on the ethics behind mandatory vaccination? Anyone?

By Albany Rose on October 13th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Yes Kevin, no problem with mandatory vaccination from me. My hospital already requires MMR, Varicella…adding a flu shot is not a problem for me. I got both of my flu shots already. I agree with the post that quoted Dr. Daines.

By Evan Sweeney on October 14th, 2009 at 10:03 am

Hi all,
You may have seen this already, but Bill Maher talked about this subject on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” last Friday. This crowd might be interested in watching it. I just posted the video here.

By right about rights! on October 14th, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Dear I see Ignorant, Stupid, whatever other immature name calling title you give yourself,
You have way too much free time on your hands. It is obscene how much time you have spent trying to convince people to see your view. It is quite apparent that you have some monetary incentive to push this vaccine. I would like to see you and everyone like you be first in line to roll up your sleeve and test this vaccine out for the rest of us. I have already seen GBS cases coming in directly related to this vaccine. You take it and let me know how it goes.

By Move-out-of-NY on October 14th, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Dear I see stupid people:
You stand alone and have way to much time on your hands. This post has become part of your personal blog.

My opinion of you is that you have a vested interest as do the politicians feeding the ever growing pharmaceutical companies. The same companies that are robbing our healthcare system! Now if every health care worker in New York or across the US is required to get this vaccine lets add up the cost. That should thicken the wallets of those politicians and investors.

I understand that the former influenza vaccine had a “successful” track record and has over 40 years of testing but the vaccine has been altered. We do not have any proof of what these alterations can do. Will the pharmaceutical companies assist with my bills if my wife now has nerve damage? My wife has already seen patience with GBS after receiving the H1N1 vaccine. The fact the government has granted immunity to the pharmaceutical companies distributing the vaccine is proof that they would not stand behind the safety of their own product. This is a fact and that is why people are questioning the vaccine’s safety. The Associated Press was told by the manufacture (Novartis) that the vaccine will likely be on the market before the trial finishes. A one year trial!!!!

“The new H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine will be made in PER.C6 cells and contain MF59 a potentially debilitating oil-based adjuvant primarily composed of Squalene, Tween 80 and Span85. All oil adjuvants injected into rats developed an MS-like disease that left them crippled and dragging their paralyzed hindquarters across their cages. When injected in humans at 10-20 ppb severe immune responses, such as arthritis and lupus, were reported. [Kenney RT, Edelman R. Survey of human-use adjuvants. Expert Review of Vaccines.2003;2(2):167-188.]”

Health care workers are in contact with hundreds of viruses and diseases, contact or airborne. Preventative measures should be taken with each patient.
My wife had the documented immunity to measles because her parents had her vaccinated when she was a one year old. She had no choice and it was well tested before she was even given the shot. In any case you are comparing apples to oranges when trying to compare measles to the flu.

“Your wife doesn’t complain about getting her annual PPD TB skin test does she? Yet it’s REQUIRED and MANDATED by OSHA as part of a hospital’s TB and Bloodborne Pathogens prevention program. No complaints of civil rights violations there?”

Both PPD and TB shots were not developed a few months ago and only tested for a few months. Again you are comparing apples to oranges.

My information comes from the very same people that take care of you and me not the internet. If our primary care physician is skeptical along with his colleagues and my wife’s colleagues so am I. Pull up your sleeve and take the shot yourself you can have mine. If every nurse and doctor refuses the shot on top of already being short staffed. What the hell are the hospitals going to do? Outsource nurses from overseas…please!!!

I encouraged and sent my daughter college to be an RN. NEVER did I think that she would be subjected to extortion or I would have sent her in a different direction.

NYS has no right to impose this on health care workers or anyone else. It is not a choice to be fired if you don’t give in. What will be next? Our rights are being robbed before our very eyes. As mentioned above, if the pharm feels this is a good thing why are they protected against any liability? Wouldn’t they be confident that there wouldn’t be any issues if this has been so completely tested?

Is this not America? Are we not free to make decisions ourselves without fear?

I can’t turn on the TV without being bombarded by drug commercials, what is up with all that? N1H1 will results in billions of $$ for the pharm – Don’t we see the writing on the wall? What will be next for the gov’t to control??? Scary!

By Evan Sweeney on October 15th, 2009 at 10:02 am

An update on some of the lawsuits going on in New York is posted here . Looks like a judge is going to hear arguments for a preliminary injunction next Thursday.

By Evan Sweeney on October 16th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Yes, a temporary restraining order was issued today, halting mandatory vaccinations for NY healthcare workers. More here. More hearings to come in the next couple weeks.

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Hiya there, I encountered your search engines log


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