Controlling the epidemic
Iread the article “N.Y. nurses to fight flushot mandate,” (ModernHealthcare.com, Oct. 13), and it got me thinking about the necessity of a rule like this and the implications of the healthcare workers not accepting it.
Although I don’t agree that there should be a mandate since it means compromising an individual’s choices and health needs, I fail to understand why this topic is even being debated.
Another article, posted last month in the New York Times, cited that voluntary immunization yields only a 51% success rate and to acquire complete-herd immunity we need a 90% success rate.
There is a big difference in these two figures and to cover this gap I believe the state had no option but to make it a rule for healthcare workers to get seasonal flu shots.
People are constantly in a state of fear these days of catching the flu and are taking extra precautions to be healthy, especially pregnant women and parents who have kids going to school. The vaccine seems like a means to acquire protection against the virus. But now with the healthcare workers not willing to get vaccinated voluntarily, it just adds to the ever-existing ambiguity regarding the use of the H1N1 vaccine among the public.
A recent survey by the University of Pittsburgh and University of Georgia stated that 63% of people out of 1,543 who were surveyed said that they would not take the vaccine. Given these kinds of statistics, I believe that the administrators of healthcare should be more careful about the message they send out since it can have direct implications on the overall healthcare system and the goals of trying to control the epidemic.
Nivedita Deshpande Student in Master of Public Health program Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh