Friday, September 29, 2023

Why Flu Vaccines Should Not Be Mandatory

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Why Vaccines Should Be Mandatory

COVID-19 vaccine should not be mandatory, HSE chief says


  • “Most vaccine-preventable diseases maintain themselves in nature through a continuous chain of person-to-person transmission. When a transmitting case comes in contact with an immune person, the chain is broken. The higher the immunity in the population, the less likely a transmitting case will find a susceptible person and the chain of transmission will be broken , even if the entire population is not immune.”Walter A Orenstein // Emory Vaccine Center
  • I don’t believe all vaccines should be mandatory in all circumstances for all people. However, vaccines should be mandatory in some situations, for some people to participate in some public and professional activities. If an individual’s participation in a particular activity places other members of the public in danger for an infection, then the vaccine, to prevent that infection, should be required if the individual desires to participate in the activity. For example, children who want to attend child care centers should be required to get all age appropriate vaccines. Same for school age children, if they want to attend out of home schools.Mobeen H. Rathore // University of Florida College of Medicine

Who Sets Vaccine Recommendations

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publish a recommended immunization schedule for the United States. This schedule is put together by a panel of 15 experts known as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices .

The ACIP panel is comprised of experts in medical and public health fields. Doctors, researchers, infectious disease specialists, and community representatives are all part of the panel.

The schedule’s purpose is to provide people with the maximum protection from vaccine-preventable diseases as safely as possible. The schedule is organized according to the age ranges in which the recommended vaccinations should be given.

Currently, there are 16 vaccines recommended by the ACIP, scheduled from birth through the age of 18.

This schedule is updated every year to ensure that it is always based on the most up-to-date research. Medical professionals across the country use it to immunize their patients, and state governments follow the recommendations to determine which vaccines should be required for school.

For: End The Cycle Of Lockdowns

Compulsory vaccinations are not the only form of mandate. Most governments have imposed some form of restrictions, from Covid passes to travel bans, that carry their own costs.

On top of the lives saved, a blanket vaccine mandate could spell the end of lockdowns.

Experts answer your questions about the Omicron variant

“It’s not just about having your liberty changed… it’s about economic damage and the mental health damage the physical health damage,” says Alberto Giubilini, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. He favours mandates for those most vulnerable to coronavirus.

“There is no reason to impose the huge, huge costs of lockdowns on people when you have another measure available.”

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Boosters And Mixed Doses

The regulations relating to vaccination as a condition of deployment in care homes requires all those that are deployed in a care home to be vaccinated with a complete course of doses of COVID-19 vaccine as defined by MHRA licensing, unless exempt. At the time these regulations were made a complete course did not include a booster dose as JCVI had not provided advice on potential COVID-19 vaccine boosters at this point. JCVI interim advice on COVID-19 booster vaccines is that any potential booster programme should begin from September 2021 in order to maximise protection in those who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 ahead of the winter. Final JCVI advice on any booster programme is due shortly. Following this advice, the government will consider the incorporation of any booster dose, in addition to the primary dosing schedule, within the requirement of a complete course.

The government will also consider whether to amend the care home regulations as necessary to ensure a single, consistent approach across the health and social care sector with respect to the number, and type, of vaccine required. Any final decision is subject to JCVI advice.

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Covid- 19 vaccine mandates have become a hotly contested issue. According to some scientists, mandating vaccines for every living and walking person is as of now not well thought. They argue that with lots of experience in dealing with patients who do not follow guidelines, it is better to win more bees with honey than fire.

Below are some reasons why we may need to re-think before passing mandatory Covid- 19 vaccination laws.It may not be well grounded in science. It is essential that decisions during pandemics are science-driven. Definitely, people who choose not to get vaccinated are making a poor health decision at their own individual risk. However, they are unlikely to pose a public health threat to those already immune but to themselves.

Would we be harsher to people making worse health choices to smoke tobacco in public or not to sleep under a mosquito net?

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Mandatory Flu Shots Are A Risky Proposition

Just like winter, flu season is coming. And as it does, employers grapple with the best way to protect their employees from contracting the illness and spreading it through their organizations.

Flu, or influenza, is a respiratory illness caused by flu viruses, and can be mild to severe, even resulting in complications leading to death. Flu is contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact, from respiratory droplets from an infected person when they cough, sneeze or talk. Because a person can become infected even before experiencing symptoms, it can be difficult to reduce the spread of the disease. Flu is seasonal, and in the U.S. illnesses usually start in October, peak between December and February, and diminish in March. Flu viruses change constantly, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a vaccine each year.

Ethical Duty Or Obligation

When accepting patients into their care, HCWs take a special professional fiduciary responsibility for their well-being, and that responsibility obligates us to follow all reasonable, evidence-based, best practices to ensure patients safety . When a person chooses to work in healthcare, that person makes an autonomous choice to work in a service profession that serves the interests of vulnerable patients . Certain obligations come with such choices. One is the obligation to take basic precautions to protect vulnerable patients against infections. It is not controversial that it is mandatory to wash hands or receive the hepatitis B vaccine. It must be uncontroversial that the simple, safe precaution of flu vaccination is also appropriate . The vaccination would protect both the employee and the patients. If a health professional is not willing to take it, he or she will fail in his or her duty to patients . Moreover, if an employee is unwilling to trust a medical intervention that is also supported by research, how can he trust the rest of the medical science that she apparently offers? .

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But What Happens When People Opt Out

If you decide not to visit your dentist, choose to eat badly or refuse to wear a helmet while cycling, you put yourself at risk. The direct impact on other peoples health is zero.

With vaccines, the health of your community could be affected. You might catch and spread infectious diseases at school, in the workplace or in public places.

If enough people in a community are vaccinated, herd immunity can be achieved. This makes it very difficult for infectious diseases to spread because a significant majority of people are protected.

Given that we have a stake in our neighbours vaccination status, is it reasonable to insist that everyone have their vaccines? Should it be a condition of accessing education, employment or social payments?

To help understand the issues at play, we sat down with some leading experts and asked whether mandatory vaccination is the answer to minimising the impact of diseases such as measles, diphtheria and pertussis.

Dr Julie Leask of the University of Sydney, says regulation is useful but that absolute mandates go too far. We need requirements that encourage parents to get their children fully vaccinated, she says. But there need to be exemptions for people that dont vaccinate. It should be harder to get an exemption than to get a vaccine.

We have shown that there is a reduction in vaccine refusal and increase in vaccine coverage if you change the balance of convenience of obtaining exemptions, he says.

Now what?

Who Should And Who Should Not Get A Flu Vaccine

James O’Brien on why he disagrees with mandatory Covid vaccines | LBC

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. Different influenza vaccines are approved for different age groups. Some people should not get some types of influenza vaccines, and some people should not receive flu vaccines at all . Everyone who is vaccinated should receive a flu vaccine that is appropriate for their age and health status. For people younger than 65 years, there is no preference for any one vaccine over another. Beginning with the 2022-2023 flu season, there are three flu vaccines that are preferentially recommended for people aged 65 and older. These are Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine or Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine.

This page includes information on who should and who should not get a flu vaccine, and who should talk to a health care professional before vaccination. Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions regarding which influenza vaccines are best for you and your family.

All persons aged 6 months of age and older are recommended for annual flu vaccination, with rare exception.

Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications.

People who can get the flu shot:

Flu shots are appropriate for most people.

People who SHOULD NOT get a flu shot include:

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The Nasal Vaccine Contains Gelatine Derived From Pigs

The nasal vaccine contains a highly processed form of gelatine , which is used in a range of many essential medicines. The gelatine helps to keep the vaccine viruses stable so that the vaccine provides the best protection against flu.

The nasal vaccine is offered to children as it is more effective in the programme than the injected vaccine. This is because it is easier to administer and considered better at reducing the spread of flu to others, who may be more vulnerable to the complications of flu.

However, if your child is at high risk from flu due to one or more medical conditions or treatments and cant have the nasal flu vaccine they should have the flu vaccine by injection.

For those who may not accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products, an alternative injectable vaccine is available this year. You should discuss your options with your nurse or doctor.

How We Protect Against Flu

Flu is unpredictable. The vaccine provides the best protection available against a virus that can cause severe illness. The most likely viruses that will cause flu are identified in advance of the flu season and vaccines are then made to match them as closely as possible.

The vaccines are given in the autumn ideally before flu starts circulating. During the last 10 years, the vaccine has generally been a good match for the circulating strains.

Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu virus circulating.

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Why Vaccinate Healthcare Workers

Most nurses are acutely aware that influenza is a serious disease. The flu can lead to hospitalization and even death especially among the very young, the very old and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, heart disease and diabetes. Nurses can spread the flu to their patients 24 hours before they feel any flu symptoms. Even young and healthy nurses can still experience serious flu complications. From 2013 to2014, the number of flu-related hospitalizations among young and middle-aged patients rose dramatically. So, why do some nurses still reject the idea of getting a flu vaccine each year?

Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza

Doctors Support Mandatory Flu Vaccine

Yearly influenza vaccination is recommended for people aged 6 months and over. Anyone who wants to protect themselves against influenza can talk to their immunisation provider about getting vaccinated.

The Australian Immunisation Handbook includes more information about specific groups who should get vaccinated against influenza.

The following people are more at risk of complications from influenza and are eligible for annual influenza vaccination free under the National Immunisation Program:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • Children aged 6 months to under 5 years
  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
  • People aged 65 years or over.
  • People aged 6 months or over who have medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease:
  • cardiac disease
  • haematological disorders
  • children aged six months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.

Children under nine years receiving their influenza vaccination for the first time require two doses of vaccine, spaced by a minimum of one month.

In some states and territories, influenza vaccines may also be provided for free to other people not listed above. Speak to your immunisation provider or contact your state or territory Department of Health to find out.

People who are not eligible for a free vaccine can purchase the vaccine from their immunisation provider.

Read Also: Does The Flu Shot Help With Seasonal Allergies

Are There Any Exemptions To An Employer

Even if your company can legally require flu vaccination, there are some employees who may still be exempt from this policy. Two exemptions are recognized by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act .

Individuals with CDC-specified health conditions should be exempt from mandatory vaccination. This includes those who have severe, life-threatening allergies to vaccine ingredients and anyone diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Pregnant employees should also receive an exemption if they request it.

When employees request an exemption, its within your rights to investigate the claims and seek evidence of the proposed basis for the exemption. Medical documents proving a diagnosis, history of allergic reaction or pregnancy should be sufficient to grant the exemption.

If an exempt employees vaccination status poses risk to customers or vulnerable employees, you may work with the exempt employee to establish accommodations that mitigate that risk, as long as theyre not overly burdensome to the company.

Those At Increased Risk From The Effects Of Flu

Flu can affect anyone, but if you have a long-term health condition, the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well. You should have the free flu vaccine if you are:

  • pregnant

or have a long-term condition such as:

  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or serious breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or some people with asthma
  • a kidney disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
  • liver disease
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack
  • diabetes
  • a neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
  • a learning disability
  • a problem with your spleen, such as sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
  • you are seriously overweight

This list of conditions isnt definitive. Its always an issue of clinical judgement. Your GP can assess you to take into account the risk of flu making any underlying illness you may have worse, as well as your risk of serious illness from flu itself.

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Views On The Policy Intention

The aim of this consultation is to seek views on whether or not the government should extend the existing statutory requirement for those working or volunteering in a care home to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to other health and care settings, as a condition of deployment, and in addition, whether to introduce a statutory requirement to be vaccinated against the flu as a condition of deployment, as a means to protect vulnerable people.

SAGE has advised that vaccination is a tool in preventing the transmission of both flu and COVID-19 in settings where vulnerable people receive a form of care.

As previously stated, vaccination reduces the risk of infection, which in turn reduces the risk of transmission. The more staff who are vaccinated against flu and against COVID-19, the more likely it will be that vulnerable people in their care are protected staff themselves will be protected and their colleagues will also be protected.

In addition, a higher level of vaccination uptake is likely to reduce sickness absence at the times when vulnerable people are most likely to need health and social care. As of 4 August 2021, the number of sickness absences was 72,696 in NHS trusts, of which around 18,000 staff were absent for COVID-19 related reasons including the need to self-isolate. This shows around 5.6% of staff were absent, which compares to an average of 4.1% before the pandemic . In the first COVID-19 wave in April 2020, staff absence rates reached a peak of over 12%.

How You Catch Flu

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When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spread the flu virus in tiny droplets of saliva over a wide area. These droplets can then be breathed in by other people or they can be picked up by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed.

You can prevent the spread of the virus by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and you should wash your hands frequently or use hand gels to reduce the risk of picking up the virus.

But the best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts.

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