Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

In today’s paper, I read this story. The actions of some people in it are absolutely mind–blowing and very much a threat to public health:

The B.C. government has temporarily backed away from a controversial plan to force thousands of provincial health workers to get a flu shot before they can work with patients.

Health care is the exact sort of industry where flu shots should be mandatory. The only way out should be a medical exemption, none of this personal choice bullshit. You would think that nurses and other health care workers would know better than to fall for anti–vaxxer bullshit. This is how we get (as reported in the article) more than half of all health care workers not getting a flu shot. But few things surprise me anymore.

And the position of the head of the Health Sciences Association (a union) is dangerous:

“[Members of the HSA (who are health care workers)] are entitled to that choice [to have a flu shot or not because they should make their own health care decisions] and they’re entitled to the privacy of that choice. Under this new policy people had to be identified as having had the shot, in fact the employer was publishing a list of people who had the flu shot. We just said that was a violation of people’s privacy.”

I agree that people have a right to privacy. But what you don’t have is the right to give the flu to someone who might die from it.

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Comments on: "These people should know better" (7)

  1. Oops, left that comment in the wrong place. Im sure you can correct that. 🙂

    • I don’t know how to move comments, but I’ll respond here.

      The comment that should have been here was

      “Rob,

      Honestly, flu shots mandatory? So, if you havnt had the flu in 20 plus yrs and you work in health care, should it still be mandatory?”

      Yes, in a health care setting flu shots should be mandatory for caregivers/etc who don’t have a medical exemption. Even if you yourself have a strong enough immune system/benefited from herd immunity enough to never get the flu, there is nothing stopping anyone else from falsely claiming the same thing. The end result of this is there being too many unvaccinated people, which causes the spread of disease. Since people in a hospital often have weakened immune systems or are simply sick, this will cause a serious threat to public health.

      Furthermore, if one becomes a health care worker, you are almost certain to have received training or instruction in hygiene/health/sanitation and proper procedures. Rejecting settled science (by being anti-vaccination) tempts me to question those people judgement in other areas.

      Note: This comment has been edited by its author to fix a broken link and to change a “generic you” to “one”.

      • You are aware that the flu shot is somewhat of a numbers game or educated guess. The fact is we arent 100% aware of what flu strain will show up at any given time.

        • However, we can make reasonable guesses. Some protection is still better than none at all. Additionally, even vaccines that protect against the “wrong” strain still provide a little-cross protection against other ones.

        • Yes, you are correct but there is also the fact that a very slight percentage of people can get violently ill from the vaccine. So what you are saying is, some people should have more rights than others, correct? Also, as far as health care workers go, you mean ones who work in certain locations, as in, hospitals and such.

        • We go and search specifically and screen for people who might have a bad reaction; one obvious example is those with allergies to antibiotics included in the vaccine. As for the others, once you do the math you are far, far more likely to get a benefit from being vaccinated than from not; namely, your chances of suffering from a bad reaction are far lower than your chances of suffering from influenza.

          I do mean health care workers in hospitals, clinics, etc.

          Working in a hospital choice; being infected with influenza by someone else is not. Hence, it seems clear that someone’s right not to be harmed because they’re given a disease that might kill them by a health care worker clearly supersedes that health care worker’s right to work while potentially infecting others.

  2. […] spine and stood up to religious extremists who put the health and lives of the public at risk. And can we start doing this in BC, […]

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