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.

Comments

I believe there are other methods to increase vaccination rates among healthcare workers. Aggressive campaigning, combined with innovative strategies such as rolling flu clinics to increase convenience, have proven successful at my LTC facility. Administrative support is key to a successful influenza vaccination program. After much research, I utilized both positive (raffle prizes, refreshments, etc.) and negative (mandatory declination statements) measures to improve our rates. Now, to keep them up…

By the way, our influenza vaccination rate among employees jumped from 65% in 2007 to a whopping 87% last year (I did not include medically exempt staff in my counts.)

It would be appropriate to mandate that hospitals and facilities offer the flu vaccine to their employees (as with the HBV), but it goes too far to mandate that employee’s take it. Too many institutions still do not offer influenza vaccine to their employees and will not until it is mandatory. Employees should be offered the vaccination with the option to accept or refuse.

By curt linderman sr on August 12th, 2009 at 9:30 am

if the vaccine were that effective, and by the way it isn’t, would you have to make it mandatory. Last year the CDC stated that the flu vaccine was 90% ineffective, yet still said that americans should get the vaccine! It’s truly criminal what’s going on here!

CDC has published data on effectivness. We tend to 0nly remember the times it does not work. 16 out of the last 20 years, the match has been good.

Employers (and apparently according to this article, governments) have the right to set employment standards.

We have tried everything to increase vaccination rates. Incentives, declinations, massive education and we cannot get above 73%. This includes more than 200 providers that did not get vaccinated last year.

This year, my administration has made the vaccination program a choice. Get the vaccination or wear a mask all flu season.

By Liz Carryer on August 12th, 2009 at 11:13 am

Our hospitals are required to protect the patients that come here for medical care. We need to make it as safe as our other practices with regard to giving flu to our patients. Employees may not intend to do harm, but since the flu both seasonal and the novel H1N1, can be spread before symptoms are apparent, they can easily in one shift infect a large number of patients, other employees and families. If a mandatory flu shot saves even a few of our patients, then it should be done…or how about if you don’t get the shot (or shots) you are required to wear a surgical mask, to protect your patients from you, for the entire shift,every shift you work during flu season (and like this year it has been a long one).

By Michele Maryanski on August 12th, 2009 at 11:28 am

In the CDC studies I read, people who got the 2007-08 flu shot were 44% less likely to get the flu than people who didn’t get the shot – despite the suboptimal match. If we have 44% less flu with a bad match, and 16 out of the last 20 years were good matches, how can anyone say the vaccine is not effective?

I am adamantly against vaccination, for personal, religious, medical and political reasons. I work as a nurse in a local hospital that misrepresented the “mandatory flu shot” information from the CDC. While the CDC mad it mandatory for each health care institution to “OFFER” the vaccinations to each employee, our hospital was informing the staff that it was “mandatory” for each hospital employee to receive it. I was harassed by the Occ Med physician, receiving phone calls at home, telling me that I did not care about my patients. I calmly informed him that I would no under any circumstances receive the vaccination and had a right to “self-determination” under the Nurembourg Code and that his calls to me were considered harrassment and I would take the necessary legal actions if I received another call. Needless to say, I did not receive any further calls and DID NOT RECEIVE THE VACCINATION, WORE A MASK ALL SEASON AND DID NOT GET ILL.
My coworkers that received the vaccination due to fear of losing their jobs, were consistently ill. Several employees were so ill that they were hospitalized post vaccination. Coincidence? I don’t think so. There is so much propaganda surrounding the vaccinations and so much moey to be made by the pharmaceutical companies, which by the way have heavy investors in the government agencies like the CDC and the FDA who vote on approving the vaccinations for safety and mandates on administration. By the way, these same investors are exempt from the “conflicts of interest” that could prove financially lucrative for them as investors.
Give me freedom, but don’t give me the vaccinations!!!

By Dominic R. on August 27th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I will be as clear on this here as I was with my boss a few minutes ago…IF I AM FORCED TO GET A FLU SHOT I WILL QUIT MY JOB…END OF REPORT!

i am steadfastly against mandatoru flu vaccination. i do not intend to have it for my own reasons.
i am thinking that this action is to benefit the flu manufacturers and the hospitals who will not face employees absences, and NOT TO PROTECT PATIENTS AT ALL.

Im a LPN in NY ill go into an different profession before getting the H1N1 vaccine. Mandatory? We will see…

By Lu-Anne in NY on September 2nd, 2009 at 11:40 am

I am a Certified Nursing Assistant in a local nursing home, and I feel that if the state law makers feel that this is in the best interest of the Patient/Resident population than they should also provide us with the paid sick time if we become ill or have side effects, from receiving these immunizations. I work part time with no benefits. If I don’t work I don’t get paid.
I also believe it is a violation of my civil liberties to be forced to take a dose of medicine (immunization) against my will, and beliefs, so that I may continue to provide for my family.
The average patient has the right to refuse any and all medical treatment so why don’t I?

By Susan A Renzi on September 2nd, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I refuse to take any flu vaccination. I have rights and cannot believe the state/government would give healthcare professionals an ultimatum. Get shot or get fired! i would rather be stoned to death. This is the USA isn’t it?

It’s your employers right and responsibility to protect the patients under their care. The patient has an expectation of improving their medical condition not complicating it be getting the flu, too. Your state or your employer has not given you an ultimatum. They have given you a choice, get your flu shot or work somewhere that does not require them. YOUR CHOICE.

By Lu-Anne in NY on September 2nd, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Liz,
It’s not my employer that is requiring this. It’s the entire state of NY. To avoid having to take this shot I would have to leave my career. I have been employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant for 29 yrs and I can’t work in another state with out going through their licensing board and uprooting my family in the process. Why Should NY state have the right to make the choice for me ?

They are not making the choice for you. They are giving you the choice, take the shot and continuing in a healthcare profession in NY or don’t take the shot and find another kind of employment. It’s still YOUR CHOICE.

It is not a choice, it is blackmail. I can see making it a condition of employment for NEW employees, but not existing. If there were unions everywhere this mandate would be torn up and thoown out. There was a federal lawsuit WON buy nurses a few years ago in a union, google it. They Didn’t have to get the shot after their hospital mandated it. A federal judge **FEDERAL** judge sided with the union NOT the hospital. There is an injunction filed in federal court in NJ to stop forced lu vaccinations. I hope the judgesigns it..We’ll see…There’s already a precedent set…

By David LaHoda on September 2nd, 2009 at 11:45 pm

You are right about the case brought against Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA by the Washington Nurse’s Association, but the precedent you reference may not be as analogous as you think. I’m not a lawyer, but I know that a Federal Court’s deciding in favor of one private organization over another is one thing; overturning a state-originated emergency regulation could be a different litigious kettle of fish, especially when that emergency regulation is under a public health law title. Emergency public health laws give governments much latitude. All you have to do is look at the quarantine powers that both the CDC and
state health departments
can exercise.

I have a problem with being forced to have any injection. However, to force us to have an injection for which the creators have no liability, and therefor little to lose if the vaccine is faulty/dangerous, this makes my mind up for me. If the pharmaceutical companies had the pressure of liability to ensure quality control, I might consider it, but no way now.

I work in a NYC hospital and therefore am required to get the flu vaccine now. What bothers me is that quite often, it provides little protection, yet the dangers are still there. It should be my choice, not New York States. And will they next require me to get the N1H1 vaccine as well? That vaccine is still being tested. To me it means it is unproven. Many vaccines in the past have caused harm. I am very upset about this state mandated program! It should be my own choice.

liz-if i put a gun to your head and say “your money or your life” i’m giving you a choice but it is not a legal or a morally acceptable choice-why do hospital pts. have abill of rights whereby they may freely refuse any treatment,procedure or vaccine even if it is beneficial?

Liz,

I’ll go one further than Gary. If I drag you up on top of the Space Needle in Seattle and put a gun to your head and say “jump or I will blow your brains out” I’m giving you a choice, but is it a fair one.

I think all employees of NY should immediately strike. When the good citizens of NY start dying, then the NY government will see what is more important.

Can I inject a little dose of reality here? No one has a gun to your or my head or asking me or you to jump off the Space Needle-all of which could be lethal. It only involves a flu shot,which is not usually lethal. Take it or not. Have a job or not. Again, YOUR CHOICE

You are right Liz. This comment stream has been bereft of reality.Thanks for cutting to the chase.

It’s not a choice because you’ll lose your job if you say no. That’s not a choice for many people who wouldn’t have taken the job in the first place if a flu shot was a mandatory term of employment at inception.

1. Why do 50% or more of health care workers not want the shot?

2. comment on the effectiveness and risks …This isn’t a 100% scientific vaccine such as others. A % of the vaccine is an assumption each year on the flu strains that will take form – hit or miss…

3. Take a look at the HPV vaccine that was recently approved…severe side effects – It happens.

4. How about the gov’t declaring immunity for the vaccine makers in case of side effects?

This is disconcerting. What if you’re the one that develops a side effect from a vaccine that may not vaccinate you and you have no recourse – but you may have decided not to get it in the first place?

Wake up people, you call yourselves health care professionals-I have been in this business long enough to realize the “money factor is what is driving the fear factor” think for yourselves not what is being fed to you-the side effects of these shots are numerous especially neuro related-let alone the H1N1 has not even been tested for any extended period of time -the few testing that was done it was administered without the toxins that will be added to the general populations doses-get educated before you talk about “for the good of your patient” in this case “ignorance is not bliss”!! Research all the mercury added among other toxins-and why do you think the drug companies where given “cart-Blanche” with no accountability for any severe reactions to H1N1-and by the way where is this pandemic? BS…..strickly fear tactics…..

Glaxo is testing vaccines with an adjuvant, a chemical compound used to stretch a vaccine’s active ingredient and boost an immune response, which has never been licensed in vaccines in the U.S. or Canada. The European clinical trials will include the compound, with two separate tests, with and without the compound, planned for the U.S. and Canada.

By David LaHoda on September 5th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I have been around long enough to know to always consider the possibility of idiocy theory when asked to believe a conspiracy theory.

I went for my annual physical today in a New York City Hospital and was told that if I didn’t get the flu shot by the end of the november, that myself along with anyone else who refuses (we used to be at least allowed to fill out a declination form) will be considered to have resigned from the hospital.
This is so ridiculous it makes me want to go work at mcdonalds.

By colleen kaulfuss on September 9th, 2009 at 8:42 am

I am angered at the fact that in this country I can be forced to get a flu shot that has not even been tested properly. Phamaceutical companies obviously hold alot of power. It all comes down to money.

I am reading all the comments and agree that mandatory flu shots are not a choice and not what I would chose. Now folks is there an organized resistence to this mandate or are we all standing alone in the crowd?

My body, my choice…. I was told you can get exempt for medical reasons…WHAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED A MEDICAL REASON?? and if I where to get a doctors note, does my boss have to agree with it? There are alot of people that work in the back-ground at hospitals…cooks, computer techs, house keeping…Lots of lives and families are gonna be affected by these inforcements…We are in a recession, are we not? and to fire people for not getting a flu shot, swine flu shot, What’s next?????? I bet they inforce flu shots every year from now on.. I am not part of a anyones HERD…

First of all, I would be talking directly to the employer about questions for possible exemptions and what is possible in your specific workplace.

But you can go to go to the New York State Department of Health FAQ page where it addresses exemptions as follows:

Are there any exemptions for immunization?
Medical contraindications recognized by ACIP will be permitted. These ACIP contraindications and precautions will be posted on the NYSDOH website to guide determinations made by individual practitioners as to the existence of a medical contraindication.

Can Physician Assistants (PA) certify medical exemptions?
Yes, a licensed physician assistant can authorize a medical exemption. This will be clarified in subsequent emergency regulations and in the final regulation.

Doesn’t the state have to allow religious exemptions to vaccination?
There is no legal requirement to allow religious exemptions to influenza vaccination. Health care personnel who care for ill patients have a responsibility to protect their patients from the inadvertent transmission of a communicable disease. Currently, HCP with direct patient care have been required to show immunity to measles and rubella and undergo annual screening for tuberculosis, which is usually carried out by a skin test injection, as a condition of employment, without religious exemptions permitted. Only medical exemptions to vaccines and tuberculosis screening are permitted.

I am ADAMENTLY against this legislation which mandates all HHC/NYS hospital employees to receive a flu shot, in addition to an N1H1 vaccination.

All patients have the right to refuse treatment- as should we.

This violates my rights
as this vaccination was not a condition set forth upon hire
or I would not have agreed to work here.

bad PR when the public learns of all the medical people refusing the vaccination!

How about mandating all patients to get a flu vaccine prior to admission? During the incubation period they might be infecting other patients and health workers. How about mandating all people using mass transit to get immunized? How about mandating all pharmacy workers to receive this vaccine since they have contact with sick people all the time? How about mandating ALL people in NY state to get immunized?
Liz, I wonder how you would feel if that was you and your family being forced to get immunized?
I am breastfeeding a 2 month old child. Soon I will go back to work where I will be forced to take a flu vaccine and then probably this unknown and untested H1N1. I am really scared for my baby. There is still a controversy about vaccinations and autism. He is getting so many of them at such an early age and then the two additional through me. At least his vaccinations are proven to work. I am not an ignorant person, but as a new mother I would prefer not to expose myself and therefore my son to something that was just developed this year. It is truly criminal to force me to expose my son to something that I don’t agree with and is not tested.

Angie,
My family and I will be in line as soon as the vaccines are available. I would think with a 2 month old child you would also be in that line. Your child is too young to receive the vaccine, so he is depending on you NOT to bring the virus home. The best way to assure that is to get the vaccine. You would be negligent not to get the vaccine and do everything in your power to make sure you baby doesn’t get the flu. Look at the CDC recommendations Anyone caring for a child less than 6 months old is one of the first recommeded groups to be vaccinated. As far as H1N1 being “unknown and untested” take the time to educate yourself. The testing is being done as we speak. The vaccine has been produced the same way all of our annual flu vaccine are done. It is just a new strain that had to grow. Do a little research if you are so fearful. You might find out this is a good thing not just the big bad government making me do something for my own good.

Liz, I am not fearful of passing on the Antibodys to my child, but mercury and other chemicals that it contains (and cumulative effect he will have as he is getting multiple vaccines at this time. Maybe you need little “education” in that area. The vaccine is being tested right now for side effects, but we will not have full results for long time… and there ARE side effects.
P.S. There is no need for the tone in your post. This is just a discussion where people voice their opinions.

I will not receive this vaccine. I have not in previous years, I’m not now. I’ve been sick 1 day in the past two years, and that was a migraine. Have fun replacing my position in the case of mandatory, without religious exemption, vaccines. Half of my co-workers came down with the flu last year, and they received the shot.

I will gladly wear a mask.

I’ll tell you what’s negligent. Having yourself injected with something that has not been properly tested. I’m not about to trust my health with 3 months of “research”. Take a look at the last vaccine that ended up killing more than the actual flu. Vaccine: 25 Flu: 1 I’ll take my chances.

I honestly have respect for my healthcare company, but this vaccine thing is becoming crazed throughout our nation. I have not taken the seasonal flu shot and I do not plan to take either of these flu shots this year. I will be respectful when I decline and if I lose my job it will break my heart. After seventeen years of dedicated service to my company with minimal use of my sick time, I do not feel this is fair. I exercise, take excellent supplements, and do other things to keep myself as healthy as GOD allows. If there is not a vaccine out for “it”; whatever it is at the time, well they are certainly working on one. I really do not know how much our bodies can stand all this protection. Maybe next they will come up with the ultimate vaccine and just prevent us from dying altogether. Even if all the healthcare workers were 100% compliant, what about those who shop, play, eat, etc. with the rest of the population. I have never understood how all those who receive the vaccine are always worried about those of us who do not take it, after all, they are protected! They took the shots! We are the at risk community. Rest easy, if I get the flu and I hope I do not, you vaccinated people are protected. I do not intend to be disresptful to those who believe it is the thing to do. Just do not force those of us who do not.

I understand about being cautious, but an informed and ethical decision for healthcare workers not to choose flu vaccinations must be based on reliable information. Just throwing out warnings without providing a source is too easy. So here is an authoritative source saying “Swine flu vaccine is a ‘thousandfold’ safer than the infection,” to add to your list for critical thinking considerations. If you have a source contradicting this advice, post it here. It should not be too difficult to winnow out credible advice from bad or unverifiable advice.

http://www.physorg.com/news172252051.html
They are looking only at mercury, but vaccines are full of other chemicals as well.

I’d rather quit my job then be mandated to take something that is still being tested.NYC hospitals need to look at how they provide respirator masks. My hospital insists they can be used all day and all patients. Doctors walk around with their masks strapped to their arms.Now who is infecting who.Why are hospitals negligent in my safety? Do family members know that we are required to reuse these masks at the risk of contaminating their loved one?

why should i take even the slightest risk of neurological damage, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome or severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis or an increased risk of more frequent colds and systemic flu-like symptoms , just so you don’t catch a mild to moderate respiratory infection. If you feel that you are at risk and want to stay healthy, than you have the choice to get vaccinated.There is no guarantee that the vaccine is even very effective as has been shown so frequently for a variety of reasons. I am a health care worker with direct patient contact and practice universal precautions and avid hand washing. Shame , Shame , Shame on SHRPC for adopting mandatory vaccination -are you getting kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company-PLEASE! Will they be offering information on the contents of the vaccine to those who are forced to get the shots or suffer job consequences?
Will they be responsible for illness caused by or related to the vaccine? I would have no problem getting vaccinated if this was proven safe and effective and given the proper information as to the contents by people who really knew what they were injecting.
Do they really think this will prevent sick calls from hospital/health care workers? Get a clue!

Concerning healthcare workers who refuse flu shots, see “Why let those opposed to flu shots have all the fuzzy-thinking fun?”

Flu shots have always been offered at my hospital and I have seen more than a few have adverse reactions. I regularly refuse and have only needed to take 1 sick day in the last 4 years for a cold.
Also, I feel it is wrong for anyone to mandate treatment to a person using a minimally tested drug without accepting responsibility for it. My wife was coerced into taking the Hep B vaccine and it resulted in a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up that left her unable to complete nursing school or work. We were stuck with the bills, no income and no recourse.
So, To NYS- thanks but no thanks! To Liz and D.- Drink the Kool-Aid

As Syl asked on September 10th, 2009 at 1:58 pm:
‘I am reading all the comments and agree that mandatory flu shots are not a choice and not what I would chose. Now folks is there an organized resistence to this mandate or are we all standing alone in the crowd?’

I wish to be involved with any organized campaign against mandated vaccinations. If you are aware of anything please post.

People, I am afraid this is just the beginning of mandated vaccinations and who better to start out with than healthcare workers. Imagine a goverment run healthcare system…anything that will keep expenditures down could be considered mandatory…everytime a vaccine is produced, who will they mandate to get the first “jabs”?
HEALTHCARE workers!

By David LaHoda on September 21st, 2009 at 3:44 pm

FYI if you think a private employer cannot require you to get a flu shot…apparently there is a legal basis. See “Can employers require swine flu shots?”

north central bronx hospital is forcing all its workers to take both shots or you be suspended without pay an if you dont take the shots after that you will be terminated there givin us to november 30. Funny thing is that even inmates are being forced the shot.Why wont congress stand in line an take the shot to prove to the taxpayers that it is a 100 percent safe

Why stop at healthcare workers…are we not exposed to germs in WALMART!! Duh..wash your hands, cover your mouth and keep NYS out of MY PERSONAL HEALTHCARE CHOICES….one step closer to SOCIALISM>>>>

I wonder who has stock in the drug company making this vaccine…someone is going to cash in on this!!!! what a way to make a buck..

By Evan Sweeney on September 22nd, 2009 at 4:38 pm

For those of you interested in commentary from the DOH and some of the unions that oppose this regulation, see “FDA approves H1N1 vaccine, affects NY flu shot requirements.”

http://www.prisonplanet.com/daycare-worker-told-shell-be-fired-for-refusing-mandatory-flu-shot.html

“It began with symptoms similar to Pink Eye on her left side and then her eye swelled; the swelling then spread further down her check and then into her neck where a mass formed. This 30 year old mother of three has been unable to work since the symptoms in her eye surfaced, around the 14th. My sister Clare asked school officials if her ill coworker would be covered by Workers Comp and was told they believe she would be. The co-worker has been on antibiotics that don’t seem to be working. Her doctor told her if the RX doesn’t clear it up the “infection(?)” soon they’ll have to take more drastic action. My sister was told by her ill co worker: “Clare you were right to say no to the shot, the job isn’t worth it, I should never have gotten the shot.”

http://www.prisonplanet.com/nurses-plan-rally-to-protest-mandatory-swine-flu-shot.html
david;
the above link should be posted in the interest of fairness to both sides.
thank you
arlene

Arlene:
I welcome your posting a link to the OSHA Healthcare Advisor’s marketplace of ideas. I’ll post another one which contains a gritty argument for vaccinating healthcare workers: “Love in the Time of Swine Flu: A Story in Three Acts,”

well, this wouldn’t be a problem at all if supply and demand were applicable to vaccines. Year after year the American public rejects the worthless flu vaccine in record numbers. If only 42% of healthcare workers can be coerced into taking this vaccine – maybe they aren’t confused – but actually see firsthand how worthless the shot is. so what happens in this country when people reject something developed by big pharma money? the government does big pharma a favor and results to draconian mandates and forced medical procedures to create a market that doesn’t exist.
I can only hope that NY healthcare workers vote with their feet and leave NY altogether for a state that still has respect for the Bill of Rights.

Liz,
The government derives its authority from the governed. If the governed do not want something, no matter how good an idea it may be, then they have the right to refuse it. I will not receive this innoculation, nor will my family. Swine flu is not an epidemic. The health commissioner is not gifted with the ability to see the future. A mass epidemic is by no means a certainty. The hospitals also have a choice – run an already cut to the bones staff with 50% missing or tell the state to back off.

Duane,
I guess you have developed the gift of fore-sight since you are so adamant that this country will not see an epidemic. The health commissioner nor the weather man that tells you the hurricane is coming on shore can be 100%. But the prudent thing to do is to prepare.

Liz, this vaccine is UNTESTED and reports are that people are getting sick from it already. Look at the story of Clare’s co-worker just above here.

I say it’s time to organize/rally/protest in front of state offices and medical facilities – that no one should be forced against their will to jeopardize their health by taking unproven flu shots that may not work and may sicken those who take them, with no provisions for sick leave or followup complications if people get sick from them.

The H1N1 shots also contain adjuvants such as formaldehyde, thimerosal (mercury), aluminum and lipid squalene – all of which are not good for us and can cause auto-immune reactions.

Shame on the government for thinking everyone is going to accept unproven, potentially unsafe flu shots that no one knows would even work.

********JUST SAY NO, ALL TOGETHER!********

Well, a lot of passion here and if controlled and directed that is a good things. A few comments. First, it is quite disturbing that there seems to be a group that believes because your “employed” you have no rights. That to me is frightening. If I were you I would be very careful about granting your employer that much authority.

Now having said that if your going to object to something, your concerns have to be real. So are there real legitimate concerns? I see a couple of very red flags here. First, the fact that immunity from legal action was granted to the companies is a big one. If it is safe, why did they (the companies) REQUIRE IT before they would begin production. Secondly, for the first time in history, the CDC has set up a separate data base to monitor reported side effects. It sounds like they are also very nervous about it. Makes you wonder why they (the CDC) did not mandate it does it not? They do have that authority if this is such an emergency

One final note, lets keep it civil and respect all opinions. That is what America is about.

By I see stupid people on September 29th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

There are no adjuvants in seasonal flu or H1N1 vaccines used in the US. Here are the ingredients for the H1N1 vaccine (easily found on the internet):

Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine is formulated to contain 15 mcg hemagglutinin (HA) per 0.5-mL dose of the following virus strain: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)v-like virus.

The 0.5-mL prefilled syringe presentation is formulated without preservative.
The single-dose formulation is preservative-free; thimerosal, a mercury derivative, is not used in the manufacturing process for this formulation.

The multidose vial formulation contains thimerosal, a mercury derivative, added as a preservative. Thimerosal, a mercury derivative used during manufacturing, is removed by subsequent purification steps to a trace amount (≤ 1 mcg mercury per 0.5-mL dose).

You are exposed to more mercury in a can of tuna fish than you would ever by a flu vaccine. Don’t like thimerosol? Get the pre-filled syringe version that doesn’t contain thimerosol.

Each dose from the multidose vial or from the prefilled syringe may also contain residual amounts of egg proteins (≤ 1 mcg ovalbumin), polymyxin (≤ 3.75 mcg), neomycin (≤ 2.5 mcg), betapropiolactone (not more than 0.5 mcg) and nonylphenol ethoxylate (not more than 0.015% w/v).

The FDA has approved the H1N1 vaccines as a strain change to each manufacturer’s seasonal influenza vaccine. There is considerable experience with seasonal influenza vaccine development and production, and influenza vaccines produced by this technology have a long and successful track record of safety and effectiveness in the United States (OVER 40 YEARS). The Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccines have undergone the SAME testing and lot release procedures that are in place for seasonal influenza vaccines.

As healthcare workers we are taught to do no harm to our patients. Yet we put our patients at risk by refusing a flu vaccination. Have you ever seen a baby or child die from influenza, and knowing that it might have been prevented by a simple vaccination?

Comments about vaccinated coworkers getting sick compared to someone who didn’t get a flu shot are ludicrous. There are other viruses that cause colds and flu-like illness. You don’t know other peoples’ exposure history or risk factors. And you can’t assign causality in this scenario. I know plenty of people who got flu shots who NEVER got a cold or flu.

I’m appalled at the scientific illitercy of the public, but it’s really disheartening when that scientific illiteracy is displayed by healthcare workers who should know better. Perhaps some of the anti-vaccination folks on here should take some basic science refresher classes, get your MPH, or do some community nursing in a 3rd world country where you can see first hand how vaccinations have saved lives.

Dear I-see-stupid people…I couldn’t have said it better myself. Good Job!

By Move-out-of-NY on September 29th, 2009 at 10:20 pm

It is a violation of our civil rights if New York State is mandating the H1N1 vaccine. My wife a Registered Nurse in New York State for over 8 year is livid. She is in fear of her safety because this vaccine has not gone through extensive testing long enough. We have zero documentation of its potential side effects. This could cause nerve damage 2 or 3 years from now. Will the state pick up our bills if my wife falls ill? I work in the K-12 education system and I am outraged about this decision. Am I next lab rat in line to get the drug? The State is making claims that this will help hospitals and other health care facilities protect patients from its very own Health Care Professionals. Is anyone watching the news? Where were the majority of the swine flu cases found? That’s right, in our education system among our children! Are teachers and administrators mandated by New York State to receive the H1N1 vaccine? Think again! The teachers union is far too powerful for the state to even try to point the needle at any teacher. Let’s see how long these bone heads up in Albany last. If you signed that bill you just lost my vote and the thousands of voters in health care. Thanks in advance for the nasty side effects.

By I see stupid people on September 30th, 2009 at 11:38 am

Dear Move-out-of-NY

As I stated previously:
“The FDA has approved the H1N1 vaccines as a strain change to each manufacturer’s seasonal influenza vaccine. There is considerable experience with seasonal influenza vaccine development and production, and influenza vaccines produced by this technology have a long and successful track record of safety and effectiveness in the United States (OVER 40 YEARS). The Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccines have undergone the SAME testing and lot release procedures that are in place for seasonal influenza vaccines.”

Healthcare workers are at increased risk for contact with influenza because we take care of sick people who have influenza. Where do sick people go for care? To us! There are documented cases of healthcare workers spreading influenza to hospitalized patients, some of whom died as a result. It’s our duty as healthcare workers to ‘do no harm’ to patients in our care. 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% because some healthcare workers are lazy, ignorant, misinformed, or selfish. 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. 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?

Your wife had to have documented immunity to measles to be able to work in patient care. Where did she get that immunity to measles from? A vaccination! 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?

Quit getting your information from anti-vaccination conspiracy loons on the internet.

By Cathy RN,Northern NY on September 30th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I am outraged that I am being MANDATED to get the flu vaccine,and most likely the H1N1 vaccine. If I don’t, I lose my job.I am certainly not against a person choosing to be vaccinated, but that’s exactly what it should be, a personal choice. I have been an RN for 22 years. Many of my co-workers have opted to get the flu vaccine over the years, only to get the flu anyway! This will not prevent a person from contracting the disease. Simple common sense, in my opinion, is the best prevention. If you are sick, STAY HOME, until you are fever free for 24hrs. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands.If you’re a healthcare worker, mask yourself and patients who have flu-like symptoms. And if you’re an employer, don’t disipline your staff when calling in sick!!!Perhaps if more public education was being done by the NYSDOH, and healthcare workers, people would be more informed and make the right decisions when becoming sick. In closing, if the flu/H1N1 vaccines are so safe, why is it that the manufacturers of this vaccine that have contracted with the federal government excempt from any lawsuits that may arise from potential side effects??? Why the need if they are “safe”?

By I see stupid people on September 30th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Dear Cathy

All of the common sense approaches you mentioned are part of basic infection prevention practices for identified cases of viral respiratory infection. However they are not enough. The problem with your approach is that it’s based on the presence of active sypmtoms. People can spread the flu 1-3 days before they feel sick, or they may never have overt flu symptoms even though they are shedding the virus. It is easier to prevent a hospital-associated influenza outbreak than it is to contain it.

Why is getting an annual flu shot any different than getting your annual TB PPD skin test? OSHA mandates that as part of a hospital’s TB Control Program. ALL employees get a PPD skin test at least on an annual basis. There’s no personal choice in that. It’s a MANDATE. Also to work in healthcare you had to show immunity (positive titer) for measles and varicella before you could work. If you didn’t have a positive titer, you had to get a vaccination. That’s a MANDATE. Where was the personal choice in that?

Flu vaccine only prevents influenza (THE most severe and major viral respiratory pathogen), not the other minor respiratory viruses that cause colds – such as RSV, parainfluenza, adenovirus, and rhinovirus. So how do you know your coworkers who got a flu shot actually got the flu? Chances are they got a cold. I know lots of people (myself included) who get their annual flu shot and we have NEVER gotten the flu.

You should direct your outrage at the misinformed, selfish, ignorant attitudes among healthcare workers who put patients at risk. What about the rights of your patients to be free from harm while in your care? If you took care of any of my family members and they got a hospital-acquired case of influenza, I would demand that anyone who had provided care to them in the past 72 hours be tested for flu, and if they were positive (and refused to get a flu shot for non-medical reasons), I would sue you and your hospital for failing to keep my loved ones safe.

There have been lawsuits filed by patients and their families because the patient acquired influenza from healthcare workers (some cases resulted in death). Guess who won?

Again the H1N1 vaccine is made using the same process, materials, and methods used for the past 40 years to make seasonal influenza vaccine, which has an outstanding track record for safety and effectiveness. So yes, Cathy, the flu shot is safe AND it does work!

Dear I see stupid people,

Who are you? I like you. Finally a level head to bring some reality and reson to this blog!!!!

I have a question for everybody…I’m 48yrs old, I’ve never had the flu. (any strain)For years I tried everything possible to try to get the flu, and couldn’t. Obviously I have a gene that prevents me from getting the flu. There are millions of other people out there that have that same gene. Do you think I should get the vaccine?

Mike,

I don’t think it has anything to do with your genes. Think what you may, I don’t know of any scientific evidence of a gene to keep you from getting the flu. Healthy with an active immune system, yes. But no insurance for not getting the flu. Yes, you should get the vaccine

Liz,

Thanks for the feed back. Whatever you want to call it, I have an immunity to the flu. Why would I risk getting very sick or possibly dying if I receive this vaccine? You don’t need to be a doctor to understand that if I get this swine flu vaccine that it will screw up my immune system. You don’t mess with something that aint broken.

Canda is suspending the seasonal flu shot because it may give you a 200% chance of catching swine flu…WONDERFUL!

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5hoD4PgWHVQGUafib9pnIusXMnmLA

We do not know enough about this.

I see stupid people,

My wife works in the ER in one of the biggest & busiest hospitals in NY.I know about the precautions they take and the risk is so minute for any patient to catch the flu from the staff. My wife is going to get the vaccine because she doesn’t want to loose her job. She’s not going to sign the consent form! (That alone should tell you all something.You force something on people and tell them to sign a consent form?) NYSHD better not be lying to us, because if something happens to my wife because of this vaccine there will be hell to pay.

Duane,
Bingo, I told my wife this. If 50% refused to get vaccinated, the hospitals won’t fire them, it’s all a scare tactic. The hospitals would be kaos. My wife tells me all the time how under staffed they are.

Gina,

One step closer to Socialism? We’re already there, have been for some time now. The government gets around everything by making laws, ridiculous laws to control all of us. A Michigan woman might go to jail for babysitting her neighbors kids. It was on the today show Monday. If that was my wife, I would have gone berserk. When our government pokes their nose in people’s personal life that is socialism. The American people just sit back and let it happen, that’s why it’s getting worse & worse.

By I see stupid people on October 1st, 2009 at 10:49 am

Mike, congrats on your super-human immune system. Maybe you should be part of a research study? However, did you happen to get your childhood vaccinations? That’s also responsible for your immunity to communicable diseases. Past experience isn’t a good indicator of future occurences when it comes to infectious diseases. After all H1N1 is affecting mostly young healthy people, not the over 65 crowd that is mainly affected by seasonal flu. This might be the year for you to get the flu? Please keep us posted.

Duane, hospitals have been working on increasing influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers for decades. It has nothing to do with the safety of the flu shots. Both the seasonal flu shots and the H1N1 flu shots are made using the same process, materials, and methods used for the past 40 years, which have an outstanding track record for safety and effectiveness. And on behalf of healthcare workers and patients, please thank your wife for getting a flu shot. Remember that it takes up to 2 weeks for your body to make protective antibodies after getting a flu shot, and the flu shot only protects against influenza, not other minor respiratory viruses that cause colds. See my post above.

Over the past 20 years nationwide, studies have shown that only about 40% of healthcare workers get an annual flu shot. Some hospitals have much higher compliance rates because they have done a super job of educating healthcare workers and getting them on board. However CMMS and Joint Commission (2 regulatory agencies that oversee hospitals) have recently started pushing hospitals to increase their flu compliance rates as part of national patient safety goals. In healthcare we hear the same excuses for not getting a flu shot as we hear from the public…”i got a flu shot and it gave me the flu”, “i don’t need a flu shot”, “i never get sick”, etc. However these excuses don’t work in healthcare. It’s not a question of the flu shots being unsafe. The excuses are based on laziness, misinformation, and ignorance.

People sign consent forms for all vaccinations, not just the flu shots. You also sign a consent form when you go to the ED and receive treatment/care.

I’m going post links to some studies that were done in Canada and Japan that showed reduction in mortality and morbidity as a direct result of community-wide flu vaccination campaigns so you can read about the benefits for yourself.

By I see stupid people on October 1st, 2009 at 10:50 am

Liz R.N.
I’m just a humble healthcare worker in hospital infection prevention and control.

TO: I see stupid people,
You are not so swift yourself. In your post you claim that the flu vaccine does not contain any additives, just the flu virus and then few lines down you claim:
“The multidose vial formulation contains thimerosal, a mercury derivative, added as a preservative. Thimerosal, a mercury derivative used during manufacturing, is removed by subsequent purification steps to a trace amount (≤ 1 mcg mercury per 0.5-mL dose). Each dose from the multidose vial or from the prefilled syringe may also contain residual amounts of egg proteins (≤ 1 mcg ovalbumin), polymyxin (≤ 3.75 mcg), neomycin (≤ 2.5 mcg), betapropiolactone (not more than 0.5 mcg) and nonylphenol ethoxylate (not more than 0.015% w/v).”
Not too logical, is it? You cannot be just a little pregnant – either there are additives or not.
As far as mercury in the fish – not a good analogy either – one is ingested where GI tract and natural digestive process can somehow regulate absorption, the other one is directly injected.
As far as trusting FDA – well, I learn quickly, but some people (like yourself) need a little more time. I guess experience with the prior outbreak of swine flu and vaccines given out back then and well as hundreds of medications initially approved by FDA and then pulled off the market did not teach you anything. Just because FDA approves it, does not mean it is absolutely safe! What is considered safe today does not have to be considered safe 10 years from now. You have to use common sense.
…and there is no reason to make fun of Mike’s immune system. It is a well documented medical fact that some of us have a great immune system that can fight off what others get sick from.

Angie,
Try a dose of that logic yourself. Do a little research. You get more unfiltered mercury from one cold water fish than you would getfrom a flu shot…or 2. Your GI tract has no filter for mercury. As far as trusting the FDA…if you wait until they find a drug with zero side effects, we wouldn’t even have aspirin, because even that has side effects. FDA weighs the know benefits vs effects and makes a decisison. Does this drug do enough “good” vs the amount of harm it might cause in some people. Wake up and come up with an intelligent arguement for not getting your flu shots.

I have been an RN for almost 30 years. I know of NO Nurse who has GOTTEN the FLU from a Patient or has Given the Flu to a patient. In fact, I know of no nurse who has had(documented by an appropriate Blood test) the Flu!
Many people will say they “have the Flu” because they may be achy & have cold symptoms & don’t want to come to work but that does not mean they have the Flu.
If patients “with certain Risk factors” are worried about the flu, then LET THOSE PATIENTS GET THE FLU VACCINE!!!
Nurses practice (or should practice) proper infection control at all times.
Want to help control germs spreading? THEN STOP LETTING CHILDREN VIST Patients in HOSPITALS!!! AND
Stop letting patients have unlimited Visitors.

The NY STATE “Emergency Regulation” was NOT MADE LAW YET!!!
CALL Your STATE Elelcted officials now, let them know you want them to UNDO this ASSAULT on OUR RIGHT to REFUSE now.
The SHR-PC & DOH Commissioner waited for the NYS Legislature to be out of session to implement this “Emergency Regulation.”
YOUR STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS CAN UNDO this NOW!!!!
REMIND them YOU VOTE & WILL BE VOTNG IN NOVEMBER!!!
CALL/Write/email ALL YOUR STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS NOW. Use the Sample below:

Dear Honorable…..
I am a Healthcare worker who is AGAINST MANDATORY FLU VACCINATIONS, especially since these vaccines are NOT FEDERALLY MANDATED.
I expect you, as my Elected Representative,to protect my basic freedoms and right of refusal. Please take Legislative Action now to UNDO this DOH “Emergency Regulation” Mandate & to prevent employers from mandating this, and any other non-federally mandated vaccine, on employees by threating of loss of their jobs.
I expect you to represent me, and all others like me, who oppose this “mandate.”
Time is of the essence.
Let us hear your position on this, please make a public statement now of your intent.
This time it is us, the healthcare workers, next time it will be you and your children.
Sincerely,
(signature)

By Christine MSN, RN, CCRN, CEN on October 1st, 2009 at 9:24 pm

I find it very concerning that there are so many of my fellow professional healthcare workers out there that would stoop to making such judgemental and down-right abusive statements. Selfish, abusive, misinformed, lazy, ignorant, I see stupid people… Are you serious? Let’s remember we are held to some moral and ethical standards in our profession. The patient’s bill of rights gives them the right to refuse treatment. Healthcare professionals should also be allowed this same choice.

We must provide non-judgemental, and culturally sensitive care to our patients. The statements that I have read on this blog are anything but non-judgemental, and culturally sensitive. I am not judging you for thinking that this is the correct choice for you or your family. I am asking for the same respect in my decision.

We are required to obtain informed consent which is only to be signed after being properly advised of the relevant medical facts and the risks involved. The facts are not clear, and the risks are unknown. I’m not talking about what the CDC, APIC, NYSDOH or our employers or any other company who has vested financial interest is putting out there. I’m looking for unbiased research. Which is exactly what we are expected to do as healthcare professionals. If you attend a seminar, or an educational presentation you are entitled to know if the speaker has a vested interest in the information being provided by way of disclosure.

We are also held to the standard in a legal court of law to act in a benevolent manner. Which is defined as being characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings, desiring to help others; charitable:
intended for benefits rather than profit. What part of benevolence is defined as forcing someone to subject themselves to something they feel strongly about by way of intimidation? Interestingly enough, blackmail is defined as the following- To extort money from (a person) by the use of threats. To force or coerce into a particular action, statement.

I would agree that requiring me to wear an N95 mask during the time period I exhibit flu-like symptoms is a reasonable request. We do ask the same of our patients and their families. I did comply to the same request when I worked the reminder of my shift in the ER out of for my patients and co-workers when I was exposed to one of the first swine flu cases in PA last May. (By the way, I never developed the swine flu nor did I take the tamiflu that was offer to me.) Unfortunately, we as NYS employees are not given that choice. I also do not complain about getting my annual PPD. But it was a known requirement of my job to get tested yearly, and I was able to refuse it while I was pregnant. I did not consent to the MMR vaccine, my parents did. But again, it was a known requirement prior to employment. To use these as being the same thing as being required to be injected with a drug that has only been approved by the FDA for the last 2 weeks, is not a very strong argument in my opinion. Also the fact that these vaccine companies where given immunity, leaves me and my family with no legal recourse should something happen. It raises a red flag in my opinion. Vaccine manufacturers should be held to the same four ethical standards in order to award damages just as I am as a medical professional. If it was found that my actions proved harm to a patient beyond a reasonable doubt I would expect to pay the consequences. But even greater than that I would feel remorse not want to be granted immunity.

To answer the questions asked by Mr. LaHoda: Will I comply to keep my job? I’m not sure at this time. I have another 2 months before I am forced to make that decision, and hopeful that somehow this situation will be resolved. I haven’t seen enough compelling evidence to resort to emergency regulations. I do however believe that the mass media frenzy is leading to fear and panic instead of a systematic review of the evidence and the ability to calmly weigh the risks and benefits to ourselves and our patients. I would not want a panic striken doctor or nurse to take care of me or my family members. I would want an informed, non-judgemental, educated healthcare provider to assist me in making decisions for myself.

For those of you that question whether or not you should be vaccinated I’ve posted the link below. This report summarizes multiple studies and is to the best of my knowledge, unbiased. It is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Deadly Immunity Report.
http://www.robertfkennedyjr.com/docs/ThimerosalScandalFINAL.PDF

I’m asking that regardless of your feelings or your personal choice that we work together to support each other. I’m sure that each one of us has made a choice at some point in our lives that we regret. Now is not the time to judge, and belittle each other. I personally am facing a heartwrenching decision, and for the first time in my life, I’ve had a taste of what it would be like to live in a country without freedom. It’s a slippery slope that I think we can all agree needs to be looked into very carefully.

By right about rights! on October 1st, 2009 at 9:51 pm

This is a very scary transition in history. The day of “Big Brother” is fast approaching. We have all been warned of such a possibility through books and movies. Just like we neglected to believe global warming was taking place for so many years, many of us are now looking the other way as the government is gaining more and more control over our rights. If we do not stand together than matters will only get worse. Soon we will have cameras in our homes to “protect” us. I obviously agree that the vaccine should be a choice. Just like it is the general public’s choice to get the vaccine to protect themselves as well. I will be approaching a lawyer to protect my right and I encourage those of you who have real fears to do the same. We all have the right to protect ourselves and our families above all.

By Rick Martin on October 2nd, 2009 at 12:50 am

I respectfully disagree with the decision of the Health Commissioner Richard Daines for NYS to require the mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers for the H1N1 flu. Like all citizens of this state, we deserve the right to decide what goes into our bodies. Patients have the right to refuse vaccination. No other state in the country is making the vaccine mandatory. It should be an option and NOT be a requirement for employment for our healthcare professionals. Please help stop this mandated vaccination program now. Write your elected NYS officials. Thank you.

By Rick Martin on October 2nd, 2009 at 12:57 am

While a patient can decide to refuse the H1N1 vaccine, a NYS hospital worker cannot. By the way, the mandate does not (yet) apply to Nursing Home employees! We ALL should have a say in what goes into our own bodies. Just how many “tested” vaccines have been taken off the market after ill effects have been found after the FDA allowed their release? Remember Lymerix (withdrawn), Rotashield (withdrawn), Gardasil (controversial). In 1955, Cutter Labs produced a polio vaccine which had tragic results. Vaccines, like all medications have risks and benefits. We must let the individual and not the State decide who MUST get a vaccine. To threaten a healthcare worker with the lose of their job for deciding not to be vaccinated is WRONG!

Liz,
I hate to say it, but yes, the route of administration matters and yes, the human body regulates ingestion.
“The factors that determine how severe the health effects are from mercury exposure include these:

the chemical form of mercury;
the dose;
the age of the person exposed (the fetus is the most susceptible);
the duration of exposure;
the route of exposure — inhalation, ingestion, dermal contact, etc.; and
the health of the person exposed.
organic mercury compounds are more readily absorbed via ingestion than inorganic mercury compounds.”

Liz,
Regarding your statement “FDA weighs the know benefits vs effects and makes a decisison”
Benefits and side effects vary from person to person and depend on such factors like age, general health status, comorbidities, race, exposure, health habits, etc. What is a good choice for you might not be the best choice for someone else. Medical care should be personalized for all of us. You cannot just generalize and mandate something for ALL.

NY State is taking a brute force approach. The only state mandating it for healthcare workers. Unions are overturning the mandate left and right in other states.

They’re taking advantage of the poor economy. Most people are being frightend with losing their jobs so get the shot. It will take some strain off the healthcare system for this year. There most likely wont be a mandate next year but the DOH will have accomplished their mission this year. A higher vaccination rate for a bankrupt state that can’t afford a pandemic. Dangling peoples jobs in front of their faces will increase vaccination rates and decrease fiscal strain on NY State. Very clever. I love NY, NOT.

Stupid People, call it what you want the bottom line is if you have a strong immune system the odds of you getting the swine flu is very slim. The people at risk are children, the elderly, and people with medical issues. I like your name but maybe you should look in the mirror. Childhood Vacinations? Oh please, you can’t compare polio, or the small pox vaccine. Those two diseases killed millions of people and those vaccines had nothing to do with my immune system regarding the flu. There is not one person that has died from the swine flu that didn’t have some sort of medical condition. For Christ sakes we’re talking about a strain of the flu, it’s going to be no different then any other flu season. The government & media is making everybody so paranoid about the swine flu. I’m done debating this, as I said before it should be a persons choice and if anything happens to my wife because she is being forced to get the vaccine, I’m holding NYS 100% responsible and they will pay for it!

By concerned nurse on October 6th, 2009 at 11:52 am

Richard Daines the commissioner of health in NY is the person responsible for this draconian rule. He is opening up a pandora’s box with mandating health care under threat of job loss. If he gets away with this what will be next? Is there a possible conflict of interest here? The drug companies are exempt from liability if they do harm to you and your family. Mr Daines, medicine under threat is a violation that no doctor should ever be involved.

My hospital has also mandated swine and seasonal influenza vaccines. I am given a choice: get vaccinated or wear a mask. I am planning on wearing a maske with a big red A marked on it.

IF a vaccine is mandated THEN I want proof that the vaccine will do any good. Folks have quoted the CDC with numbers to say it helps. Well lets go to Cochrane:

P L A I N L A N G U A G E S U M M A R Y
There is no high quality evidence that vaccinating healthcare workers reduces the incidence of influenza or its complications
in the elderly in institutions
There is evidence that vaccinating the elderly has a modest impact on the complications from influenza. There is also high quality
evidence that vaccinating healthy adults under 60 (which includes healthcare workers) reduces cases of influenza. Both the elderly in
institutions and the healthcare workers who care for them could be vaccinated for their own protection, but an incremental benefit of
vaccinating healthcare workers for the benefit of the elderly cannot be proven without better studies.

This was published ni 2009, here, if you will read it yourself: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/homepages/106568753/CD005187_standard.pdf

By Barbara Lock on October 7th, 2009 at 9:03 am

If millions of New Yorkers have already had swine flu, as has been estimated, how many of them do you think are healthcare workers? Probably a disproportionate number.

This is the first time in at least 100 years that a state or federal US government has required immunization of an adult autonomous population (excluding military, which are not autonomous). It is a very worrisome and dangerous precedent.

I interviewed George Annas, JD, a leading expert in bioethics and health law on this topic: http://www.medpie.com/Conversations/featured-articles/annas.html .

By Lu-Anne in NY on October 7th, 2009 at 10:02 am

The bottom line is if you want the shot and feel it’s safe then you should take it but those of us who have concerns shouldn’t be forced to accept something we object to. It’s extortion! Our government does not have the right to tell me that I will have to risk endangering my health or lose the right to work at my chosen career because I ddon’t chose to follow along with the thinking that it’s better for the group at large vs. the safety of the individual.

I know that for every reason I object to this immunization there is someone who will point out a positive reason to have it but that is not the point. No matter which way I look at it I cannot get passed the simple fact that we are not able to randomly dispose of toxic chemicals like Aluminum, Thiomersal (MERCURY) and Formaldehyde, because they are considered toxic waste, but we inject them into our healthy bodies and expect there to be no ramifications. Ridiculous!!

Here’s a doctors take on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1z7KSEnyxw&feature=player_embedded

By I see stupid people on October 7th, 2009 at 11:56 am

Dear Angie
You are confusing the terms additive with adjuvant. An earlier post on here was about adjuvants. The seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 flu shot do not contain any adjuvants. Please google adjuvant and read up on it before posting.

There are 2 forms of mercury that people are not aware of. Methyl mercury is the kind of mercury that is found in contaminated sea food. It’s the kind that is stored in tissue when consumed and can accumulate over time. Ethyl mercury is the type of mercury found in thimerosol. This kind of mercury is easily cleared by the body and excreted, and does not accumulate in tissues like ethyl mercury. So it does not matter how it enters the body. What’s important is how the body processes it.

Two type of influenza vaccine (Fluzone and Fluvirin) contain thimerosal as a preservative. (A non-thimerosal version of Fluzone, Fluzone 3, is available.) The amount present is quite small–25 micrograms per dose, which represents about 12.5 micrograms of mercury. How much is that? Well, a serving of mackerel contains about 73 micrograms of mercury; a serving of scallops, about 5 micrograms; a serving of swordfish, a whopping 97 micrograms. In other words, worrying about the mercury content of a vaccine is a bit silly for anyone who eats seafood…

As a side note, thimerosal is also found in some sore-throat spray and in contact lens solution.

By I see stupid people on October 7th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Dear R.P.
You are WRONG that no patients have gotten the flu from healthcare workers. Just because you’re not aware of a case doesnt’ mean it hasn’t happened. I personally don’t know anyone who’s been on a space shuttle but I suspect there are people who have been.

Transmission of influenza from HCWs to patients has been documented in nearly every health care setting.1 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.

Serologic studies suggest that up to 25% of HCWs have evidence of influenza infection each season.2,3 Influenza can be transmitted while asymptomatic – allowing HCWs to spread the infection to patients and other staff before they know they are ill.4 Fifty percent of HCWs who have influenza infections are asymptomatic or have only minor symptoms.5

A review of nosocomial influenza outbreaks in the hospital setting compared attack rates of patients with those of HCWs, and found that HCW attack rates mirrored, and even surpassed, patient attack rates in epidemic areas of the hospital.6 In addition, the study reported median excess patient mortality rates of 16 percent, with rates in excess of 33 to 60 percent for ICU and transplant units.

THE EVIDENCE
Immunizing health care workers safely and effectively prevents a significant number of influenza infections,hospitalizations, and deaths among the patients they care for, as well as preventing workplace disruption and medical errors by workers absent from work due to illness, or present at work but ill.7,8,9 Influenza vaccination of HCWs lowers mortality among patients. A study of 20 hospitals
found an overall 51% staff vaccination rate in hospitals where vaccine was offered vs. 5% staff vaccination rate in hospitals where influenza vaccine was not offered. Mortality among patients was 13.6% (102/749) in the hospitals providing HCW vaccination vs. 22.4%
(154/688) (P = 0.01) in hospitals that did not.10 In another study of 12 hospitals, HCWs and patients were randomized to receive influenza vaccine. There was no difference in patient
mortality between hospitals with patients who received vaccine and patients who did not.
However, the mortality rate among patients in hospitals where HCWs got vaccine was 10%, compared with 17% among hospitals that did not immunize HCWs.11
Influenza vaccination of health care workers results in improved patient safety, improved employee safety, and decreased health care expenditures.12,13 In a 2003 study of University of Ontario house staff, house staff reported working during most days they were ill and
infectious. Vaccination was associated with a 30% decrease in ILI (p=0.05), a 43% decrease in fever and cough (p=0.03), and a 63% reduction in absenteeism. Thirty percent of unvaccinated but 60% of vaccinated residents believed flu vaccination should be mandatory, but depended upon the system to make sure they received it.14

The needs of the patients we as are privileged to care for must come before our personal preference.

The reasons healthcare workers on here are giving for avoiding a flu shot are simply an avoidance, a cop-out.

With a few exceptions (allergies, religious reasons) all healthcare workers need flu shots to protect those around them. Not getting one is selfish, and at its extreme, criminal.

References:
REFERENCES
1The 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.
2Carman 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.
3Potter 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. 5Stott DJ, Kerr G, Carman WF. Nosocomial transmission of influenza. Occup Med (Lond). 2002 Aug;52(5):249-53.
6Salgado 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.
7Wilde 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.
8Bridges 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.
9Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Rivetti D, Deeks J. Prevention and early treatment of influenza in healthy adults. Vaccine 2000;18:957–1030.
10Carman 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.
11Potter 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.
12Nichol 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.
13Carman 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.
14Lester 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.
16National Quality Forum. Safe practices for better healthcare: 2006 Update—a consensus report. Washington DC, 2006.

By I see stupid, misinformed, misguided people on October 7th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Dear Lu-Anne:
Let’s take a look at the claims about flu shots containing ‘toxic’ chemicals:

The flu shot contains formaledhyde:
Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Formaldehyde is used to embalm people. You sure don’t want it in your body, right?

Formaldehyde is everywhere. It is produced naturally in our bodies during the normal, ordinary course of cellular metabolism. It’s used as a preservative in cheese and dried foods. It’s used as a preservative in many cold medicines, in dishwashing detergent, and in makeup. It comes out of the tailpipe of your car. It’s produced by gas stoves and grills; anything grilled contains formaldehyde. Think about that at your next Fourth of July barbecue!

Flu shots contain alumunim phosphate and aluminum salts:

Aluminum phosphate is one kind of aluminum salt used in vaccines. Another is aluminum sulfate.

Aluminum phosphate is a naturally-occuring chemical compound that in its crystalline state is quite lovely. You may have some aluminum phosphate that you use for decoration somewhere in your house; its common name is “turquoise.”

Vaccines contain aluminum salts. So does your kitchen.

Aluminum sulfate is toxic in large doses, but quite common and ordinary; its household name is “alum.” It’s one of the ingredients in common, everyday baking powder. It’s also used to make pickles, maraschino cherries, and gelatin. And oh noes! It’s in vaccines too!

Medically, aluminum phosphate is used as a drug to treat certain kinds of kidney failure. It is also used in the denture adhesive that people use on their dentures, and as an antacid. Yes, it’s true that aluminum phosphate can be toxic–and then again, dihydrogen monoxide is deadly if it’s inhaled. What’s dihydrogen monoxide? Oh, that…well, it’s sold under the trade name of “water.”

Flu shots contain methanol:
There are some vaccines, namely vaccines against a bacterial infection called Q-Fever and vaccines against tuberculosis, which are made by extracting DNA from the bacterium by using methanol. The viral vaccinations are not made this way.

Methanol is a naturally-occuring alcohol. It’s found in small quantities in diet colas, and it forms in the body when the artificial sweetener aspartame is broken down. It occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, in fruit juice (especially orange juice, which contains quite a lot of methanol–34 milligrams per liter), and in fruit jellies and jams. In fact, methanol is found in almost any fruit or vegetable product.

By I see stupid, misinformed, misguided people on October 7th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Dear Christine

Ignorance that puts peoples’ lives at risk doesn’t deserve sensitivity and a velvet touch. It requires a large dose of ‘what the hell are you doing’ to wake people up. Sorry if that offends you.

The discussion over vaccination of health care workers (HCWs) for influenza must begin with an undisputed set of facts: 1) Influenza vaccines are safe and effective, 2) Unvaccinated HCWs spread influenza to their patients, 3) Hospitalized and other vulnerable patients can have prolonged hospitalizations, severe illnesses, and can die as a result of influenza transmission from HCWs.

New Joint Commission standards requires organizations to establish an annual influenza vaccination program, educate staff and physicians about flu vaccination, evaluate vaccination rates and reasons for nonparticipation in the immunization program at the unit level, and implement enhancements to the program to increase participation.

You need to get a flu shot if you’re a healthcare worker. It’s that simple. For years Occupational Health and Infection Control have cojoled, coddled, begged, pleaded, passed out candy, etc to increase flu shot compliance in healthcare workers, yet on average 40% of HCW’s get their annual flu vaccine despite evidence (as listed in a previous post) that flu shots save lives. Now that the hammer is coming down, everyone wants to scream and cry about ‘freedom’ and ‘rights’.

Making flu vaccinations mandatory for HCW only does what we already require for hepatitis B, measles, mumps, varicella, and annual TB screening. HCW immunization rates now exceed 96% – 99% after mandatory requirements for rubella, measles, mumps, hepatitis B, and varicella vaccinations. Once OSHA mandated Hepatitis B immunization for HCWs, immunization rates skyrocketed and now exceed 99%. The risk of hepatitis B among HCW’s has diminished by >90% since the introduction of standard precautions and a recombinant vaccine. Despite vaccine availability, however, coverage is incomplete because >30% of workers refuse to be vaccinated. As a consequence, CDC estimates that, in 2002, another 400 healthcare workers became infected with hepatitis B virus, a number that has been stable since 1995.

The H1N1 VACCINE IS SAFE!!!!! The H1N1 vaccine has been properly and rigorously tested for safety and efficacy.
The FDA, CDC, NIH and numerous other governmental and private sector partners are ensuring that the same rigorous testing methods are employed during the testing phase of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine as is employed for seasonal influenza vaccine and other vaccines. The H1N1 vaccine is made in exactly the same way that the seasonal flu vaccine is made every year, by the same companies, using the same equipment, with the same methods. The only thing that is different is the flu strain, which changes every year anyway.

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.

This isn’t about totalitarianism or loss of liberty. It’s about doing the right thing for patient care, and getting people to do what they should have been doing all along anyway.

By I see stupid, misinformed, misguided people on October 7th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

To those who are concerned about mandatory vaccinations and the loss of liberty…If you were in the military, flu shots would be mandatory, no questions asked. So suck it up and get your flu shot already.

By I see stupid, misinformed, misguided people on October 7th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

To Judy K. and R.P

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.

Serologic studies suggest that up to 25% of HCWs have evidence of influenza infection each season. Influenza can be transmitted while asymptomatic – allowing HCWs to spread the infection to patients and other staff before they know they are ill. Fifty percent of HCWs who have influenza infections are asymptomatic or have only minor symptoms.

A review of nosocomial influenza outbreaks in the hospital setting compared attack rates of patients with those of HCWs, and found that HCW attack rates mirrored, and even surpassed, patient attack rates in epidemic areas of the hospital. In addition, the study reported median excess patient mortality rates of 16 percent, with rates in excess of 33 to 60 percent for ICU and transplant units.

By I see stupid, misinformed, misguided people on October 7th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

THE EVIDENCE:

Immunizing health care workers safely and effectively prevents a significant number of influenza infections, hospitalizations, and deaths among the patients they care for, as well as preventing workplace disruption and medical errors by workers absent from work due to illness, or present at work but ill.

Influenza vaccination of HCWs lowers mortality among patients. A study of 20 hospitals found an overall 51% staff vaccination rate in hospitals where vaccine was offered vs. 5% staff vaccination rate in hospitals where influenza vaccine was not offered. Mortality among patients was 13.6% (102/749) in the hospitals providing HCW vaccination vs. 22.4% (154/688) (P = 0.01) in hospitals that did not. In another study of 12 hospitals, HCWs and patients were randomized to receive influenza vaccine. There was no difference in patient mortality between hospitals with patients who received vaccine and patients who did not. However, the mortality rate among patients in hospitals where HCWs got vaccine was 10%, compared with 17% among hospitals that did not immunize HCWs.

Influenza vaccination of health care workers results in improved patient safety, improved employee safety, and decreased health care expenditures. In a 2003 study of University of Ontario house staff, house staff reported working during most days they were ill and infectious. Vaccination was associated with a 30% decrease in ILI (p=0.05), a 43% decrease in fever and cough (p=0.03), and a 63% reduction in absenteeism.

Thirty percent of unvaccinated but 60% of vaccinated residents believed flu vaccination should be mandatory, but depended upon the system to make sure they received it.

By I see IGNORANT people on October 7th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Out of respect to Christine, I changed my name. Ignorance is curable, stupidity isn’t.

By I see IGNORANT people on October 7th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Dear Mike
I understand your passion. And I agree that the media is HYPING this story. However take a look at the following link, the first graph at the bottom of the first page.

http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/epi/flu/pdf/h1n1_report_september30.pdf

The red line shows the confirmed cases of flu for my state (Arizona). You can tell that this is a pretty severe flu season compared to previous years. That’s why public health officials are worried. There’s valid concerns that with flu already so widespread this early in the year, that not only will hospitals be swamped with people seeking care (and some estimates that 15% of hospitalized patients with H1N1 will require intensive care), that healthcare workers will also get sick. If a hospital has 20-30% of its staff home sick, who’s going to take care of all those patients coming in seeking care? And it’s possible that we’ll get hit by a second wave of seasonal flu later this fall/winter on top of the H1N1 flu cases.

Now back to the hype: the media and the public in this country are scientifically illiterate for the most part, as evidenced by some of the posts on news articles related to flu and some of the comments made by reporters on air. I’ve seen it in my local media here. We had one radio host get on the air and tell people that if they were worried about H1N1 (at that time referred to as swine flu), to take their children to the local children’s hospital ED. Within hours the ED was overloaded with panicked parents, resulting in outpatient clinics having to be closed and appts canceled due to the patient volume. ED staff were triaging patients in tents set up in the parking lot. Most of the people who brought there kids came because they were worried about H1N1, not that their children actually had H1N1 or even had symptoms. That’s the level of paranoia and ignorance we are dealing with this year. People can’t sort out the facts from the hype because they dont’ have the scientific background or the critical thinking skills to do so.
Just my two cents.

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.

REFERENCES
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

bravo!

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:
http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/hotnews/study-evaluates-msaks-and-n95-respirators.html

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:
skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/06/robert_f_kenned.html

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

And more bad news for anti-vaccination folks:
scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/01/another_very_bad_day_for_antivaccination.php

And just for giggles, info about certain religious groups that don’t have high vaccination rates still get autiusm:
autism-news-beat.com/archives/29

Here’s the report that the H1N1 vaccines have been approved by the FDA:
http://www.infectiousdiseasenews.com/article/43762.aspx

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

Arlene

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

Kathryn

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

Kevin

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.

Hello I would like to know in which you got this weblog template from I adore it!

Hiya there, I encountered your search engines log

 

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