Con­trol­ling the epi­demic

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters -

Iread the ar­ti­cle “N.Y. nurses to fight flushot man­date,” (Mod­ern­Health­, 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

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