Mandatory flu shots
With the flu season rapidly approaching, the issue is raised again if there should be mandatory flu vaccinations for health-care employees.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized with the flu each year. The workers who directly care for these patients are both exposed to the illness and potential transmitters to other patients.
Research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that the flu vaccination is safe and its benefits far outweigh the risks.
As a family nurse practitioner student, I believe that this is a huge public health concern. Mandating flu vaccination for all direct-care workers is reasonable. Failure to mandate vaccination is a silent endorsement of a potentially catastrophic pandemic such as the 1918 “Spanish Flu,” when 500 million were infected worldwide.
The reality is most of us are one paycheck or diagnosis away from poverty. It is unfortunate that many people have to work while they are sick just to make ends meet, but owing an electric bill or a car payment is not worth the life of a vulnerable patient.