Medical employees should be vaccinated
This is in response to the article "Hospitals crack down on workers refusing flu shots."
You know, from a patient and community perspective I support the difficult decision for hospitals to terminate employees who refuse to get a flu vaccine shot, except those of course who are allergic to the vaccine itself. With the flu spreading sooner this year and at an alarming rate, I believe that health care workers should be more precautious to a deadly threat. Most people do not connect the flu with death but according to the CDC’s website, at least 200,000 people a year are hospitalized with the flu virus. The flu could result into a very serious respiratory infection in those with compromised immune systems like infants or the elderly. The flu is also very dangerous to children, the elderly and those already sick in the hospitals.
When health care workers refuse to take a vaccine shot, they are not only compromising their own health, but the health of those that they are supposed to be protecting. As an employer, the hospitals that fired the workers, I feel, made the best decision for their facilities. They were protecting themselves but also looking out for the future and current patients within their hospitals.
According to the article, the government’s goal is to get up to 90 percent coverage of health care workers by 2020 and as of November 2012, 60 percent of health care workers have been vaccinated. I think that it is a very manageable and sensible goal to obtain.
It is a very simple way to look at this situation. We must look at the health of the communities as a whole and everybody must work together to prevent outbreaks and that should start at the foundation where outbreaks are very likely to spread quickly. This analogy could maybe put into perspective for many people: What if it was not required for servers at restaurants to wash their hands after using a restroom because they felt it would impede on their freedom? Would you eat out as often?
I know locally that the Yuma Regional Medical Center offered all of its employees free flu shots this season, and even Target offers its employees free flu shots as well. As a patient, I would like to know that my doctor and nurse are protected from the flu and therefore protecting me as well.
Every profession carries some sacrifice. Soldiers fight wars oversees, gas attendants work on Christmas and servers wash their hands constantly to prevent food contamination as a courtesy for their jobs and more so to us, as required for the safety of the general public. I don’t think that it is too much to ask to have nurses vaccinated.