Doctors Support Mandatory Flu Vaccines

mandatory-flu-shot-poll

A recent Sermo Physician Poll supports medical personnel receiving flu vaccines to protect both employees and patients.

The question asked, “Do you support mandatory flu shots for medical personnel?” The results:

  • 70%  Yes
  • 30%  No

Why Flu Shots Matter

One endocrinologist who worked in a hospital commented, “The interest is not in minimizing sick days but in protecting immunocompromised or frail patients who come for care. All hospitalized patients are also offered immunization though I would assume there are no negative consequences to refusal.”

As we reported earlier, some facilities, like Johns Hopkins, require the flu shot or terminate the employee.  Another doctor noted a more novel approach for compliance.  “The flu vaccine is mandatory for all employees. If anyone refuses, they would need to wear a face mask at work for the entire flu season. Not surprisingly, we have 100% compliance.”

Population Compliance

The CDC tracks the numbers annually of the general population receiving the flu vaccine.  Last flu season was a five-year high for compliance rate.  Across the U.S., 58.9 percent of children and 42.2 percent of adults received vaccinations.  The CDC added:

Based on a study of the 2012–13 flu season, flu vaccination … prevented an estimated 6.6 million illnesses, 3.2 million medically attended illnesses, and 79,260 hospitalizations.

Compliance did vary greatly by state.  South Dakota had the highest compliance rate of 57.4 percent and Nevada had the lowest at 36.4 percent.

Some theorize the increase in vaccination could be due to the anti-vaccination movement which supports other immune-boosting strategies such as eating well and avoiding sick people.  Sermo columnist Linda Girgis, MD, family practitioner recently debunked many of the myths common in the “anti-vaxx” movement.”

A Warning for This Year’s Flu Season

Early indicators suggest the predominant strains for the 2014 – 2015 flu season will be influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B.  However, Ascel Bio Vice President and Infectious Disease Forecaster, James Wilson, M.D. said there is an issue with the nasal spray vaccine (“FluMist”) this season, it might not be as effective against H1N1 (swine flu) as in prior years:

“As forecasted, we are seeing an H3N2-dominant type A season, so concerns about whether the vaccine will protect against H1N1 infection is not looking relevant at this moment in the season.  We will of course continue to monitor the season in the coming months to see how much H1N1 activity there ultimately is.”

As a physician do you prefer using a shot or the nasal spray for your patients?

Physicians Strongly Support Childhood Vaccinations

Doctors know the threat of low vaccination rates.  We have seen diseases cropping back up that had been under control such as whooping cough in California and measles in the New York area.  Another vaccination poll, conducted in August, showed 79 percent of physicians think unvaccinated children should not be allowed to attend school.

As a physician, do you get an annual flu shot?  Do you think medical personnel should be required to vaccinate or risk losing their jobs?  Do you think wearing a mask is enough encouragement for medical personnel to receive a shot?  We will be discussing this more inside Sermo, if you’re an M.D. or D.O. please join us.

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