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Running head: Should Flu Shot Be Mandatory To Health Care Workers

Should Flu Shot Be Mandatory To Health Care Workers


Student name- Yong Yang
Student no- N01032414
Date of submission- 02/10/2015
NURS-217-0NA: Legal and Ethical Concepts
Instructor- Janet Jeffery
Humber College ITAL

Influenza is a contagious respiratory system infecting disease caused by Influenza


viruses. It is one of the most severe life-threatening infectious diseases in the world. On the basis

Mandatory Flu Shot

of statistic data of Public Health Agency of Canada, each year in this nation, the flu is sending
more or less 12,200 Canadian citizens to hospital, and leading to a loss of more billion dollars in
treating and managing process; but still 3,500 death could be related to this infection and its
complication (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2014). To alleviate this negative tendency of the
influenza disease, the vaccination should be taken into consideration. Flu immunization has been
proved to be the most effective way preventing the transmission of flu virus. Moreover, there is
evidence that the influenza vaccination is providing a great assist in reducing the risk of
hospitalization and the death rate caused by flu disease.
However, in the past few years, there has been an increasing debate about whether or not
the preventive vaccines of influenza should be made mandatory all over the health care workers
(HCWs). On the one hand, in consideration of the public expectation and the prevention of the
communicable diseases, the general theory support that behavior of public service professionals
and healthcare providers should be consistent with the in the public interest. On the other hand,
some unions, experts and HCW individuals oppose this idea by questioning the effectiveness,
protective power and side effect of current flu shot. Furthermore, some challengers even have a
suspicion that this mandatory policy is not in the best interest of the public but the vaccination
manufacturers. However, as far as I am concerned, to make vaccination of HCWs mandatory has
its rationality and necessity. This article provides some opinions of policy-protesters and then
lays out the supporting reasons why to apply compulsory flu vaccine policy over HCWs.
In order to avoid giving rise to the grievance of the workers, healthcare organizations
tend to hesitate putting the mandating flu vaccination policy into practice. Some unions
disapprove of this vaccination-required policy in the consideration of protecting the human right
of hospital employees. Recently, the Canadas former infection-control expert Dr. Michael

Mandatory Flu Shot

Gardam started to question the impartiality of statistic data and argued that according to some
research there is a lack of conspicuous findings to prove that the vaccinated healthcare
community will benefit hospitalized patient, and the contribution of vaccination to minimization
of the flu death rate is low (Carly, 2014). The policy protesters are anxious about that the
effectiveness of current flu shots have been overestimated. Vicki McKenna, the Ontario Nurses
Union representative once argued that the compulsory vaccinating measure for healthcare
providers is not sufficiently supported by scientific evidences (Sophia, Christopher & Andreas,
2014). For the first time vaccination experience, the vaccination sees only 60 percentage
protective force against flu virus. Furthermore, influenza virus is a persistent mutating virus,
which increases the difficulty for scientists to make the prediction of the strain type of the
incoming epidemic outbreak. It is also difficult to guarantee vaccines protective capacity to the
continue changing virus, even within in one potency year of the vaccination.
However, the logic behind the policy is very strong. Influenza is well known as a fatal
communicable disease. It is estimated that the motility rate of flu-induced death is as much as
breast cancer, and about 3 times bigger than the death caused by HIV. Meantime, the flu virus
vaccination provides most effective method for the influenza prevention. With regards to
compulsory vaccine for HCWs, the reasons are listed as follows.
First, the vaccine mandating is a technical policy in accordance with the principles of
infectious diseases control. The source of infection, transmission route, and susceptible group
compose the spreading process of an epidemic. The health care workers are susceptible group
since they are taking great risk of direct contacting with infection source, the patients and
patients specimen, soiled sheets, tissues etc. The vaccination, in the first place, provides
protection to the workers themselves from being infected; then forms a shield against the

Mandatory Flu Shot

epidemic delivery, and further terminates the chance for the workers to pass infectious to
coworkers or patients. And whats more, the influenza is transmissible before perceivable signs
and symptoms, which is potential risk for HCWs to infect patients while routine
working.Mandatory vaccination policy is not something newly introduced into the health care
environment. Take smallpox for example, the mandatory policy could be traced back to 1809 in
the USA and to 1840 in Britain. If other compulsory vaccination policies are in the best interest
of public, then so will be influenza vaccine mandating.
Secondly, mandating policy helps pushing up the percentage of the flu vaccination rate
for HCWs. Despite the consensus that all health care workers should be flu vaccinated each year
(Gruben, Siemieniuk & Allison, 2014); actually, in the hospitals in Alberta and Ontario, we are
still facing the unsatisfactory flu vaccination rate of 45% in the group of healthcare providers
(Sophia, Christopher & Andreas, 2014). Voluntary uptake for HCWs has been consistently
proved to be lack of effectiveness. According to statistic of data, voluntary flu vaccine strategy
leads to 44% of HCWs vaccinated; while the mandatory policy would be able to acquire a
percentage increase to 89% (Sophia, Christopher & Andreas, 2014).
Lastly, the mandatory flu shot policy is ethical issue to meet require of the professional
obligation, employees and patients protection and public health. Take nurse work for example,
Healther M, on behalf president of the CNO, stated the standard requires nurses to take all
necessary infection control measures, nurses are responsible for taking appropriate action to
ensure client protection (Healther, 2008). The CNO also presents Ensuring the use of safe,
effective and ethical infection prevention and control measures is an important component of
nursing care (CNO, 2009), Therapeutic nursing services contribute to the clients health and
well-being (CNO, 2006), The therapeutic relationship is established and maintained by the

Mandatory Flu Shot

nurse through the nurses use of professional nursing knowledge, skill, and caring attitudes and
behaviours to provide nursing services that contribute to the clients health and well-being
(CNO, 2009). Preventing the contagious transmission is essential for public health. As above, the
healthcare professionals are obligated to promote the public health lever via getting vaccinated.
The moment, HCWs choose the profession of their free will; theyre considered accepting the
professional ethics and professional risk with the job at the same time. Therefore, when the
HCWs are faced the options of public health promotion and personal freedom, public interest
may come first, since the holistic disease prevention always exceeds the liberty of individual.
The suspicion of impartiality of statistic data could not be logically demonstrated, since
the potential increase of vaccine consumption by only HCWs may not be able to bring a huge
amount of fortune to the manufacturers. It is true that the influenza vaccine needs to be improved
on the protective capacity. However, considering the mortality rate and huge damage caused by
the virus, poor protective seems not to be an adequate excuse for individual to refuse
vaccination.
Because of the special working condition, HCWs encounter great risk of contracting and
communicating contagions. HCWs Immunization plays an irreplaceable role in protecting the
HCWs and the clients, and disease prevention. Healthcare unions are obliged to diminish the risk
of infectious delivery to satisfy the clients expectation. Increased HCWs vaccination percentage
is the warranty of effectiveness for flu prevention. Hence the compulsory influenza vaccination
policy would be imperative. Despite of imperfection and the scientific uncertainty of the flu shot,
in view of macro control of this serious infection, it is still worth to put the mandatory HCWs
vaccination into practice.
Reference

Mandatory Flu Shot

Carly Weeks. (2014).Why This Expert Is Against Making Flu Shots Mandatory for Health
Care Workers. Retrieved from: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/
College of Nurse of Ontario. (2006). Therapeutic Nurse-Client Relationship. Retrieved from:
http://www.cno.org/Global/docs/prac/41033_Therapeutic.pdf
College of Nurse of Ontario. (2009). Ethics. Retrieved from:
http://www.cno.org/Global/docs/prac/41034_Ethics.pdf
College of Nurse of Ontario. (2009). Infection Prevention and Control. Retrieved from:
http://www.cno.org/Global/docs/prac/41002_infection.pdf
Healther M. Campbell. (2008). CNO Reply Influenza Vaccinatin. Retrieved from:
http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.alphaweb.org/resource/collection/
Public Health Agency of Canada. (2014). Influenza Vaccines Fact Sheet "What is the Flu"
Retrieved from: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/
Sophia Ikura, Christopher Doig & Andreas Laupacis. (2014).The Evidence and Politics of
Mandatory Health Care Worker Vaccination. Retrieved from:
http://healthydebate.ca/2014/02/topic/health-promotion-disease-prevention/
Vanessa Gruben LLB LLM, Reed A. Siemieniuk MD, Allison McGeer MSc MD. (2014) Health
Care Workers, Mandatory Influenza Vaccination Policies and the Law. Retrieved from:
http://search.proquest.com.eztest.ocls.ca/docview/