Recently we have received many emails from health care workers from various states in the US and around the world asking what they can do because their hospital or other medical employer is trying to force them to receive flu vaccines or wear a mask all winter, or worse, be fired.
We wanted to share an article with you as there are some places where healthcare workers and their representatives are standing up for their rights – and they are doing it with the help of a prestigious non-profit research center that has evaluated all the available research on flu vaccines and has declared that they have little benefit in most adults and do not impact transmission of the flu. The Cochran Collaboration is the research center and you can find their work on flu vaccines here: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001269/vaccines-to-prevent-influenza-in-healthy-adults ( You can click on the “Abstract” and “PEARLS” links at the bottom of the page to read more.)
If you are a healthcare worker or know a healthcare worker who is being pressured to get a flu vaccine, this information will be very useful to you. According to the Cochrane Collaboration, under average conditions (when the strains of flu in the vaccine only partially match those strains circulating that year), the flu vaccine must be given to 100 people in order to prevent one person from getting the flu. To explain, there are many strains of the flu virus and the strains mutate and change every year. So each year, in anticipation of the coming flu season, flu vaccine developers guess which strains of the flu will most likely be most prevalent and that is what they put in the vaccines. In an average year, therefore, there is only a partial match of the flu viruses in the vaccine and those in circulation amongst the populace.
Here is the article on nurses fighting mandatory flu vaccines:
British Columbia nurses fight mandatory flu immunization
The BC Nurses’ Union and the Cochrane Collaboration are demanding that the policy be withdrawn. In August, Perry Kendall, British Columbia’s health officer, announced a policy that requires healthcare workers to get a flu shot or wear masks during flu season. The employees are expected to wear a badge proving they received the shot, the Canadian Press reports.
The union and the group questioned the science behind the new policy.
“We’re going to base our practice on the best science,” Debra McPherson, the president of the nurses’ union, said, according to the Canadian Press. “Getting an immunization, getting a foreign body shot into your body, should be a matter of choice. Certainly for health-care workers where the science is not compelling, it should continue to be their choice and they shouldn’t be coerced or punished for choosing, based on their reading of the science, to not get it.”
Kendall said that multiple medical journals promote similar policies that require mandatory vaccination.
“The Lancet, the British Medical Journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology in the United States, they’ve all called for mandatory immunization of health-care workers,” Kendall said, according to the Canadian Press. “If I was a member of the public, I’d be scratching my head because it certainly seems very undermining.”
The flu vaccination is approximately 60 percent effective, which could reduce the chances an employee would pick up the virus and pass it on to patients, the Canadian Press reports.