Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mass health-worker absenteeism feared

Doctors and nurses' aversion to flu shots endangers plan to vaccinate them first so they are able to treat others

Hospital workers are supposed to be first in line for any pandemic influenza vaccine so they can keep Canadian hospitals running during an outbreak – but that strategy hinges on workers agreeing to take an unproven vaccine for an uncertain threat.

Across Canada, somewhere between 40 and 60 per cent of health-care workers opt for a flu shot each season, despite extensive efforts to persuade the entire work force to get immunized. In a normal flu season, that's not a major problem.

But in a serious outbreak of H1N1, the unwillingness of large numbers of doctors, nurses, paramedics and others could lead to soaring absenteeism rates, draining the health-care system of workers just as they are needed most. Faced with lesser risks, Canadian health officials have tried to make flu shots mandatory, but those efforts have typically failed, with the rights of the individual trumping any broader societal concern.


  1. Good news, friends.!! A US Federal Court ruled on 12 February 2009 that the MMR vaccine and Thiomersal do not cause autism.

    This now means that following the initial claims in 1998, multiple large epidemiologic studies, reviews of the evidence by the CDC, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the UK National Health Service, and the Cochrane Library, all found no link between the vaccine and autism. The Cochrane Library's systematic review also concluded that the vaccine has prevented diseases that still carry a heavy burden of death and complications, and that the lack of confidence in the vaccine has damaged public health.
    This is great news for parents, we can now vaccinate after our fears have been put at rest.
    (United States Court of Federal Claims OFFICE OF SPECIAL MASTERS No. 98-916V THERESA CEDILLO and MICHAEL CEDILLO, vs SECRETARY OF HEALTH . February 12, 2009.

  2. Hopefully the issue can finally be put to rest and all that energy (and money) can be put into finding the actual cause(s) and treatment!