Navigation Links
Penn Medicine physician argues for mandatory flu vaccinations of health care workers
Date:11/14/2013

PHILADELPHIAShould flu vaccines be mandatory for health care workers? That's the question raised this week in the British Medical Journal to two researchers, including Penn Medicine's Amy J. Behrman, MD, in a "Head to Head" piece that argues both sides of the debate.

Behrman, the medical director of Occupational Medicine Services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and associate professor of Emergency Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn, believes that mandatory vaccination is needed to protect vulnerable patients, while an emergency department nurse from Vancouver General Hospital in Canada argues that evidence on effectiveness is not sufficient to over-ride health care workers' right to choose.

Both authors cite past studies and raise ethical issues to make their case.

Influenza vaccines are not only estimated to prevent thousands of hospital admissions and millions of illnesses annually, but they are also safe and have the greatest protective effect in healthy non-elderly adults, precisely the demographic of most health care workers, Behrman states.

For this reason, vaccinating hospital staff can improve patient safety, as well as protecting health care workers. Mandatory staff vaccination help protect patients who are at the highest risk for influenza complications and most likely to be in a hospital setting: elderly people, infants, patients with heart and lung disease, and patients with compromised immune systems.

"Health care institutions should maximize the use and benefit of a vaccine that is moderately effective, extremely safe, and logically likely to reduce the risk of healthcare acquired influenza for vulnerable patients as well as decrease illness among health care workers," Behrman writes. "First do no harm."

Ideally, workers will take individual responsibility for being fully immunized, but when that does not occur, health care institutions have an ethical obligation to intervene, just as they do to optimize hand washing and minimize surgical site errors, she said.

In 2009, the University of Pennsylvania Health System approved a mandatory policy for all staff, after extensive efforts to improve voluntary immunization rates were insufficient, and after an internal survey on attitudes toward immunization mandates found overwhelming medical staff support.

The health care provider from Vancouver General Hospital, on the other hand, argues that vaccinating health care workers has not been shown to reduce the transmission of influenza to patients by rigorous criteria. A recent Cochrane review of five studies found no evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevents influenza or its complications in individuals in long term care, and thus no evidence to mandate compulsory vaccination, he states.

He also notes that the vaccine often only imparts partial immunity and may last for less than the entire flu season.

Health care workers, according to him, should protect patients from influenza by isolating people with symptoms of respiratory infection, improving infection control, covering coughs, washing hands, and staying home when sick. For him, influenza vaccination should remain a personal decision until there is more persuasive evidence.


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. First targeted nanomedicine to enter human clinical studies
2. Normalizing tumor blood vessels improves delivery of only the smallest nanomedicines
3. AFAR announces the 2012 Hartford Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine awards
4. DNA Testing Finds Allergens, Toxins in Traditional Chinese Medicines
5. Not taking gastroprotective drugs prescribed with anti-inflammatory medicines
6. Nearly 1 in 4 grandparents store prescription medicines where children can easily find them
7. Wilderness Medicine founder offers health tips for summer season
8. Internal medicine physician specialists release policy paper on reforming Medicaid
9. Awards to 5 IU School of Medicine physicians address critical need for geriatricians
10. Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for May 8, 2012, online issue
11. New twist on ancient math problem could improve medicine, microelectronics
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple ... care services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster ... Fire Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s ... Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the ... danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains ... a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one of the largest and ... plans to open a flagship location in Covington, LA at 401 N. U.S. Highway ... store next to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping center. Its location allows ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Asante, a nationally recognized health system in ... existing home health joint venture through an agreement, effective October 1, 2017, to ... home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for the past eight ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... -- NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance in May 2017 for its highly ... designed for endoscopy environments. An innovative secondary monitor solution, ZeroWire ... support the improvement of patient outcomes, procedural efficiency, and the lowering ... ... ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... 4, 2017  South Korean-based healthcare product Development Company ... "cprCUBE" on Kickstarter. The device will educate the user ... with better efficiency compared to the dated and pricey ... on efficacy of the compression for a more informed ... goal to raise $5,000. ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. ... day with the investment community and media to further ... call will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Investors, ... webcast of the conference call through a link that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: