Mandatory Immunizations?

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    I went to orientation with an agency today and was informed that the H1N1 vaccine will be mandatory for all nurses or you will have to wear a mask the entire shift. I was just wondering if anyone else has been told that as well. From what I have read on the CDCs website this is a live attuenated virus and as I am taking immunosuppressants I think I will pass. But if all hospitals are eventually going to mandate it I guess I'm a little concerned about options. Anybody else??
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  3. 16 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    The shots are not live virus, nurseinpa.

    The following thread may have more info on one of the links:

    http://allnurses.com/pandemic-flu-fo...ws-416667.html

    Can't speak about mandatory shots, I guess it depends on your facility or if you are working in New York state.
  5. 0
    Can we start predicting rounds of layoffs followed sometime later by rounds of lawsuits?

    I can see the need to order mandatory vaccines, but not every HCW is willing or able.

    Hang in there, nurseinpa...
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    Thank you. I guess maybe I am a little confused. I read on the CDCs website somewhere that the H1N1 is a live virus but the H5N1 was not. There is so much information out there Im not sure what to believe. I'm going to give my rheumatologist a call this morning and get her take on it. Thanks for the info!!
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    Quote from nurseinpa
    Thank you. I guess maybe I am a little confused. I read on the CDCs website somewhere that the H1N1 is a live virus but the H5N1 was not. There is so much information out there Im not sure what to believe. I'm going to give my rheumatologist a call this morning and get her take on it. Thanks for the info!!
    Good idea. It's usually best to check with your physician if there is any doubt about your particular situation.

    I have a close friend currently receiving chemo for leukemia. He got his flu shot yesterday -- at his oncologist's office, I believe.
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    I doubt a lawsuit would stand up in court since you've got the option of the shot or the mask. The courts will just say this was a decision made in the public interest. And honestly, just wear the mask. The same would go for people who are allergic and cannot get the nasal spray.
  9. 0
    Yes, I agree, just wear the mask if you aren't willing to take a chance on the shot. The term "mandatory" is somewhat misleading. No one can be FORCED to take any vaccination, period. You may have to go through some inconveniences, like not being allowed to work certain places or units, having to be tested if you have any symptoms, etc. But, if you are like me, and not willing to take a new, untested vaccine, then you do what you have to do. But, I fear that many people will hear that word "mandatory", and assume they HAVE to be vaccinated, even against their better judgment.
    So, let me say it again. You don't HAVE to take the vaccine, no matter who you are or where you work. So, do your research, and make an informed decision.
  10. 0
    They are "mandating" it at my hospital too. If you don't do the shot, then you have to wear a surgical mask the entire flue season (what is that like 5 months?). I think that making people who make an informed decision to not take the vaccine be "branded" and have to wear a surgical mask that even the CDC has said does not stop the transmission of the virus is ridiculous. So I don't feel I have a choice, if I elect to not do the shot... I have 5 months of explaining to every patient I come in contact with (who are probably a little jumpy about the flu anyway) why I am wearing a mask and that I am healthy. I feel they are trying to get everyone to take the shot (which makes their lives easier) by humiliating them in front of their patients. I think it is ridiculous. I have no problem with vaccines, I get a flu shot every year, but this one makes me a little nervous b/c it was made so quickly and is not proven safe or effective yet. The bottom line is coming up with a system that ensures employees don't come to work if they have flu symptoms. I just feel a little bit coerced and feel I should be allowed to make my own educated decision (like they typically do with the regular flu shot) about what I want in my body without having to be embarasssed/labeled in front of my patients.
  11. 2
    Quote from rnsrgr8t

    they are "mandating" it at my hospital too. if you don't do the shot, then you have to wear a surgical mask the entire flue season (what is that like 5 months?). i think that making people who make an informed decision to not take the vaccine be "branded" and have to wear a surgical mask that even the cdc has said does not stop the transmission of the virus
    there is no "flu season" with the novel swine flu virus. we are in a pandemic situation. this novel virus appeared in the spring in the northern hemisphere at the very end of the flu season, and it never left us. when we move into our upcoming flu season this fall which is almost upon us, and our regular flu viruses reappear in the northern hemisphere, people may well be co-infected by more than one type of flu virus simultaneously. this will give swine flu the opportunity to pick up some new traits such as increased strains of tamiflu resistance from seasonal h1n1. it also will at some point, probably displace at least one of the seasonal influenzas because this is what usually happens with pandemics.

    pandemics can last longer than a year, much longer. the 1918 pandemic lasted maybe 21 months. novel swine flu virus shows no signs of stopping, and will probably continue until there are no more susceptible hosts to infect.

    even though it has been relatively "stable" so far, influenza viruses are constantly mutating. maybe it has not changed much simply because it has not had to. there are still plenty of susceptible hosts out there. at this time it mostly targets the young adults including pregnant women, school age kids, and those people with a weakness like diabetes, or heart disease. but when it runs out of this population, it may very well target other groups as it makes its way around the globe. there is precedent for this.

    i suspect that most of us will end up being immunized by this very transmissible virus simply because it is already out there in every community right now. you may meet peope every day as you shop or go to a movie, who have mild cases and are shedding virus as they cough or contaminate items that others must handle. the problem is that you may have a difficult time getting your facility to believe that you have been "naturally" immunized.

    this virus like all influenzas is very unpredictable. unlike seasonal flu though, novel swine virus has the ability to deeply infect the lungs. seasonal flu usually does not do this. fortunately, the great majority of cases do not end up in icu. you get sick, but you get better. but keep in mind that although 60% of those with a severe case that required critical care intervention had a prior existing health condition, 40% of those severe cases did not. it is a crap shoot.

    you have seen this thread?
    http://allnurses.com/pandemic-flu-forum/no-prior-existing-400466.html
    these are only the cases that made it to the attention of the media. with the privacy laws in effect, there are no doubt many more cases that we have not heard about. the who says that 40% of the severe cases were in previously healthy people. i believe them. this appears to be entirely random with no way to predict who is going to be very unlucky from just catching the flu.

    and, if you are unlucky, it is very expensive. these people are spending a very, very long time in intensive care. critical care clinicians have been remarking that it seems very unusual. a certain percentage of these cases are so bad that they require ecmo.
    media reports mention that these poor families are holding car washes, and requesting donations to help pay for some of the extraordinarily expensive care. it is all so very sad. then there is a very long time spent in rehab if they survive.

    check out this very interesting thread for info on ecmo cases:
    http://allnurses.com/pandemic-flu-forum/ecmo-will-we-410682.html

    and, even though we might get this virus early and recover easily, there is no reason to believe that we won't be infected again. the reason why the flu shots have to change every year is that the vaccines are always chasing a moving target. influenza is very wiley. it is constantly evolving to try to infect people. it has to change itself enough to get around the defenses of your immune system, and it does this very effectively by changing just enough so that your immune system does not recognize it.

    about those masks, even though the cdc website may not have changed the guidance on masks yet, this may well happen if the iom committee that just met recently decides that surgical masks are sufficient protection for hcw. i suspect that this will be their recommendation, and i am not too happy about it. i think that in certain situations the surgical mask may be enough but i like the greater protection of the n95, myself.
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    "Can we start predicting rounds of layoffs followed sometime later by rounds of lawsuits?"
    That would be fun to watch! In my place, if they lay off even 10 percent of their workforce, the place shuts down. Period. The National Guard may end up evacuating them to gymnasiums, but the care at my nursing home grinds to a dead halt. Game over.
    I think the THREAT of the above may be used, but it is really only an idle threat, as someone has to care for these folks, and if only a third get the vaccine, the math simply doesn't work.


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