Are we ready for a Pandemic, comment

I couldn’t agree more with the writer of the previous forum about the mandatory immunization of nurses in NYS. I feel it is irresponsible and unprofessional of nurses not to get immunized against the flu. We as nurses are responsible to our patients to not get them sicker while we care for them. Studies have indicated that when tested, 33% of healthcare workers in one study tested positive for the flu last year but showed absolutely no flu symptoms. It is commendable that the nurses who say they don’t want to be immunized would agree to stay home if sick but unfortunately it is not in the nurses natures to think they are sick and as the study indicates many showed no signs of sickness but were contagious. We are required to have yearly Tb tests and I don’t hear people screaming about that. I am confused as to why we don’t want to do what is best for our patients.

Original Post
October 19, 2009
Title: Are we ready for a Pandemic
I thought my state had the right idea in preparation for the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu that has begun to hit our schools and will inevitably be hitting our hospitals and nursing homes. The NYSDOH (New York State Department of Health) had mandated an emergency regulation, which mandated annual flu vaccinations for all healthcare personnel by Nov 30. This is no different to the already in place regulation of requiring mandatory vaccinations of healthcare workers for measles, mumps, rubella and TB testing. As an educator, I also must regulate the company representatives and vendors coming into our organization, that they also must have all the necessary immunizations prior coming to our surgery department. This is not only to protect our patients, who are already at a compromised state, but also to protect them from contact of our patients. We as educators and leadership began to immunize our healthcare workers to proactively prepare for what was to come. As of last week, we had immunized well over 75% of our workers. We know our hospitals have shortcomings in that we ask our workers to stay at home if they contract symptoms or they must stay home with their children, but on the other side of the coin, we reprimanded them if they are sick longer than three days, as they do not have a note from their doctors, as they cannot go to the doctors offices for fear of spreading the disease. As in everything we see each day, we began to hear grumblings from some of our own nurses. "No one is going to make me get a vaccine". They were going to go to our state capitol to argue and try to block the mandatory flu shots-as the subsequent lawsuit stated it was to "protect the rights of nearly 60,000 medical workers" in New York State. As of today, there is a temporary restrain order blocking this mandate. What is the question here? Do the nurses not want to be vaccinated? Do they not want to be "mandated to be vaccinated"™ I think the state made a gutsy move attempting to be proactive in the wake of a possible pandemic. I went into healthcare many years ago to help people, to care for the sick and dying. I participated in a smallpox inoculation workshop, when the threats of bioterrorism and chemical warfare hit home. What is wrong with these nurses- are they more concerned with going to their unions than they are about their patients? During the legal turmoil that will probably take weeks. I read in the paper just yesterday, that the flu virus has claimed eleven deaths of children and teens during the last week-eighty-six in all. Its effects are now seen in forty-one states. Who is going to care for the very sick people that are going to be coming into our organizations? Did you not learn anything from the HIV virus?

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