May 06, 2013
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This article will cover reasons health care workers are opposed to mandatory seasonal influenza immunizations. Should it be mandatory for employees who work in health care to receive an annual flu shot? Employees who work in the health care field and have direct contact with patients are the main reasons for spreading infectious disease, such as influenza in health care facilities. Studies show that providing employees in the health care field influenza vaccinations will help protect patients, health care worker as well as health care workers families from complications of seasonal influenza. At this time mandatory immunization for influenza is highly controversial for health care workers. Some health care workers believe that it is a violation of one’s rights, and an individual should have the right to refuse if he or she so desires, without the fear of losing one’s job.
On average there are 15 million to 60 million cases of influenza reported annually in the United States, which results in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths (Stewart & Rosenbaum, 2010). Getting vaccinated against the seasonal flu virus can help decrease illness by 70% to 90%, which makes it an effective way in preventing the spread of the flu virus (Stewart & Rosenbaum, 2010). Seasonal outbreaks of the flu virus in a health care setting usually will have a major impact on patients, health care workers, and the health care system. When an individual receives care from a health care worker who may have been exposed to the flu virus, it will put that individual at risk for developing the virus.
Patient activist, provider organizations, and public health specialist agree that health care workers who deliver direct patient care should have an annual flu shot. Some health care facilities have used many approaches to urge health care workers to accept the annual flu vaccine.