Editorial calls for compulsory flu shots for all Canadian health care workers

From “Health workers should be required to get flu shots” in the Toronto Star:

“Every year, as many as 8,000 Canadians die from the flu. Another 20,000 are hospitalized. They are often old or sick and are already in the care of doctors and nurses. So there is more than a little irony in the fact that many of these medical professionals are reluctant to get their annual flu shot.

While most of us take the routine jab-in-the-arm like good citizens, too many health care workers don’t get vaccinated, exposing patients in their care to days of fever and chills — or worse.

Their aversion to the annual flu shot is well documented. In Toronto, more than half don’t bother. Across Ontario, more than 40 per cent go without. That is far too many unprotected workers, especially when the precious health of patients is at risk.

This has gone on too long. It is time to make it mandatory for health care workers to get the annual influenza vaccine.

Ontario’s public health agency recently said it wants all health care professionals to get vaccinated as a condition of employment. Its call for action got a powerful boost this week when the Canadian Medical Association Journal took a similar stand. The Journal cited evidence that there is less sickness and death among patients and staff when frontline workers are immunized. “It is time that all people who work in a health care institution be vaccinated,” wrote Ken Flegel, a medical doctor and senior associate editor of the Journal.

Such a move remains controversial. Earlier this month, when Public Health Ontario said the voluntary approach isn’t working, union leaders voiced outrage over the ethics of enforced vaccination. Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions asked, “Wouldn’t it be simpler just to have a slave labour force?”…”

Read more on TheStar.ca

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Editorial calls for compulsory flu shots for all Canadian health care workers

  1. charles jasunas

    Of cource big buisness wants it that way.I has to do with profit and not people’s health. Why do you think health care workers don’t want the shot ? Because they know it’s a bunch of crap. Many people and their children keep their immune system in top shape by not eating industrial food and buying only real food that comes from many places like farmer’s markets.

  2. This is another big business ploy. Many people are injured and even die from these invasions of our body. Research it. See who funds the research that shows it is helpful. Look under the covers and wake up.

  3. thebovine

    Hmm. Are these health care workers who choose not get vaccinated actually lazy, or are they just more conscientious about their health than those who just do as they are told?

  4. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/webarchives/20071212103611/http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/97vol23/23s4/23s4b_e.html

    Excerpt:

    “Unlike some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada; it cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution. Only three provinces have legislation or regulations under their health-protection acts to require proof of immunization for school entrance. Ontario and New Brunswick require proof for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella immunization. In Manitoba, only measles vaccination is covered. It must be emphasized that, in these three provinces, exceptions are permitted for medical or religious grounds and reasons of conscience; legislation and regulations must not be interpreted to imply compulsory immunization. Requiring proof of immunization for school entrance serves two main purposes. First, parents who have forgotten to have their children properly immunized will be reminded and can rectify the situation. Second, parents who do not wish to have their children immunized must actively refuse and sign documents attesting to that fact. Also, all provinces and territories have regulations that allow for the exclusion of unvaccinated children from school during outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Currently, Quebec is the only jurisdiction in Canada to have a compensation plan for VAAEs.”

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