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For Some Medical Workers, a Flu Shot Or Possible Job Loss

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the greater-good-as-defined dept.

Medicine 541

theodp writes "Want to work at Winthrop Hospital? Roll up your sleeve, and we'll talk. TIME reports that every employee at the Long Island hospital — from doctors and nurses who care for patients to the administrative, housekeeping and food-service personnel — must be vaccinated against both seasonal and H1N1 flu or face termination. The mandate comes from the health department of New York, the first state to require all health-care workers to be vaccinated against influenza. Meanwhile, two-thirds of parents say they'll avoid flu shots for their little ones like, well, the flu. So who should you believe — Dr. Bill Frist or 'Dr.' Bill Maher? Before you decide, perhaps a consultation with Dr. Google is in order."

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Captain Obvious (0, Flamebait)

Fryth (468689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706749)

If everyone had the flu shot, there would be no more flu.

If more people have the flu shot, there will be less flu than there is now.

Re:Captain Obvious (3, Insightful)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706813)

I am no medical expert but I am pretty sure we can't "cure" the flu... Doesn't the thing constantly mutate making a "polio-like" vaccine impossible?

Re:Captain Obvious (1, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706825)

If everyone had the flu shot, there would be no more flu.

If more people have the flu shot, there will be less flu than there is now.

Absolutely not true. Try some prevention for a change. Get people to wash their hands, stop picking their nose, and stay at home when they're sick. Don't share mice, keyboards, phones. Stop with the "pair programming" where you're breathing down each others' backs. The flu shot is a crap-shoot in terms of effectiveness, and stats show that this latest virus is no more fatal than the average.

For example, of the 151 cases in Mexico when it first started, upon re-examination, only 6 were swine flu.

This tendancy to report ANYTHING as "possibly H1N1 - PANIC!!!" is stupid. I've never had a flu shot, and never will. And if you've had one, keep away from me - you're more, not less, likely to have a compromised immune system in the long run if you get annual flu shots.

Re:Captain TwatObvious (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706837)

remind me again, what are your medical qualifications?

Re:Captain TwatObvious (1, Insightful)

clandonald (1652847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706855)

aren't doctors taught to endorse the drug of the day or does each doctor personally do his own research on th drug and they all came to the same conclusion?

Re:Captain TwatObvious (0)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707103)

according to my mom, who is an RN and damn good at her job, is that drug company's help fund and write the medical text books schools use.

Re:Captain TwatObvious (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29707113)

aren't doctors taught to endorse the drug of the day or does each doctor personally do his own research on the drug and they all came to the same conclusion?

I notice you got modded troll, but in fact you're right. Big Pharma and the insurance industry dictate terms and standards of care to doctors. People are too stupid/brainwashed to see it, and then they get angry when someone points out the truth. So in effect most people are actually self-righteous about their ignorance. Graduating from medical school in the U.S. primarily just qualifies a person to be a good salesman for Big Pharma.

Re:Captain TwatObvious (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707031)

I'm a healthy skeptic. In both senses of the word. Never had a flu shot, because I don't buy into the hype - I do my research when something doesn't make sense, and this whole H1N1 crap has been exaggerated from the beginning.

"151 dead from Swine Flu in Mexico", on recounting, turned out to be 6.

turns out that a lot of the numbers from around the world were similarly inflated. Also, people "coming down with H1N1" isn't the same as people dying from it. Millions die from the flu every year. Why the big panic for a flu that is no worse than average? Money!!!

Get people panicking, and you can profit from it. Ask DHS, Blackwater, etc.

I'll stick with preventative measures, as opposed to a shot that may or may not be effective this season

Re:Captain TwatObvious (2, Interesting)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707045)

What do medical qualifications have to do with the fact that the seasonal flu vaccine is produced according to a prediction about epitopes that may or may not be present on the newly mutated form of the virus? A flu shot does not mean you won't get the flu, it means your body will react to certain antigens it encounters due to previous exposure. That's no guarantee that the flu virus will mutate as predicted. These predictions are made a year in advance. Try predicting the weather a year in advance, maybe no one would get rained on?

Gargle (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706861)

Constantly gargle with 80 proof spirits.

Ise presfer Jim beeem meself!

Re:Gargle (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707053)

Actually, those mouthwash commercials are bogus. Gargling with crap like Listerine (active ingredient - 27% booze) actually strips the mouth and throat of a protective layer of mucous, and can contribute not only to you catching diseases, but also to a higher risk of throat cancer.

Booze is for drinking, not spitting out.

If you have to gargle, use a salt-water solution. It's cheaper, safer, and also environmentally friendlier than mouth wash.

Re:Gargle (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707089)

Whosh aid anything about spitting out!

Re:Captain Obvious (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706915)

If the influenza pandemic will kill off Extreme Programming, now that's something I can get behind.

Re:Captain Obvious (2, Insightful)

grommit (97148) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706959)

I'm not a doctor so could you please explain to me how kickstarting my immune system against a specific strain of disease will compromise my immune system? I'd understand if a vaccine was designed to fight off the disease on their own but they're not. They prime your own immune system to start building up the immunities on its own. At least, that's kinda how my doctor explained them to me. Maybe my doctor doesn't know as much about vaccines as you do.

Re:Captain Obvious (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707025)

I believe the reasoning may go something like this: the vaccine (if I understand everything correctly) contains a dead or crippled version of the disease in question, perhaps even deactivated toxins. The body will have its typical reaction to the disease itself, and will attack the (mostly) harmless vaccine, with the purpose being to cause the immune system to recognize the vaccine as foreign, destroy it, and remember how to destroy it.

I suspect that the GP resists this, perhaps assuming that a more natural exposure to e.g. the flu will result in a better immune system, as it will have to do all the fighting on its own against a real opponent, not a crippled on.

Re:Captain Obvious (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707065)

I suspect that the GP resists this, perhaps assuming that a more natural exposure to e.g. the flu will result in a better immune system, as it will have to do all the fighting on its own against a real opponent, not a crippled on.

That sounds like awful reasoning. Getting a flu shot doesn't prevent you from also getting natural exposure to the flu.

Re:Captain Obvious (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707149)

Read what you wrote - "They prime your own immune system to start building up the immunities on its own." Unfortunately, antibodies aren't all that discrete. For example, the same antibody reaction that's been implicated in type one (juvenile) diabetes, where cows milk ends up leaking into the infants' bloodstream and provoking an antibody reaction; later on in life, the same antibodies start destroying the isles of langrahen; once enough are gone, no more insulin production [ttp] .

Repeatedly injecting foreign substances to provoke immune responses has also been implicated in rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases later in life.

And no, doctors aren't necessarily up on the latest and greatest. Look how many decades they told people with peptic ulcers to see a shrink to learn to handle stress. The flat-out refused to believe that ulcers were caused by an infection. Ditto with certain forms of cancer and viruses. Heck, they thought they could "cure" gays and lesbians for over a century. Some even wanted to "cure" the "disease" of being left-handed up until a decade ago.

Even now, some doctors are saying thatyou should pick your nose and eat it [damninteresting.com] , despite the fact that the boogers are there FOR YOUR PROTECTION, and picking your nose short-circuits that process, damages tissue (allowing direct access to the blood stream), and helps spread contaminants (stop wiping your snot all over the place - it's like a culture medium for bacteria).

In other words, doctors can also fall victim to simplistic logical fallacies. Or are you going to start picking your nose and chewing it because some doctor mistakenly thinks it's the right thing to do?

Re:Captain Obvious (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706971)

Don't share mice

But they are so cute and cuddly in my han OUCH DAMN THING JUST BIT ME!

---

In other news, Doctors in Raleigh, North Carolina have just found the first case of rodent flu! Stay tuned to learn more!

Dumbass (2, Insightful)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706977)

Nothing wrong with hand washing. But... it sounds like you're a germ-o-phobic dumbass. Where's you're evidence that flu shots compromise your immune system? Links to the weekly world news don't count.

Re:Captain Obvious (2)

Fryth (468689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707011)

You're absolutely right about prevention being key, and handwashing is an extremely neglected, important way to fight disease (disclaimer: of _course_ i am not any kind of doctor).

But there's nothing wrong with getting a flu shot, and it can only improve matters in the vast majority of situations. There may be circumstances where getting a shot would be unhealthy, sure.

Forcing people to get one seems like it causes other, ethical, problems, though, which I didn't mention in my post which is now modded flamebait :)

Incorrect TomHudson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29707027)

I have had only two seasonal flu shots.

Flu Shots work by introducing a dead flu virus or small amount of flu virus to your system. The immune system then counters this threat by developing its own anti-virus immunity.

This immunity can be temporary or can last a while.

Although one can was their hands multiple times a day and use sanitizing solutions Ill take the sickness now and know my body is stronger for it. Enjoy living a life of fear and wasting money on stupid crap.

Mods (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707047)

If everyone had the flu shot, there would be no more flu.
If more people have the flu shot, there will be less flu than there is now.
Absolutely not true.

How did the GP get +5 informative?

Sure an ounce prevention is worth a pound of cure but the GP does not seem to recognise vaccines as prevention. My guess is the GP is a fit and arrogant man who is way too young to remeber polio or smallpox. I'm sure he will change his opinions after he wakes up one morning and experiences his first bout of pneumonia.

Re:Captain Obvious (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29707051)

And if you've had one, keep away from me - you're more, not less, likely to have a compromised immune system in the long run if you get annual flu shots.

May you please provide some evidence for this claim? If you are talking about antigenic sin, that only applies if you get the shot regularly, but then skip a year:

http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?article_id=218392095 [sciencentral.com]

The flu shot is a crap-shoot in terms of effectiveness

From http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113154000 [npr.org] ,

"If you are vaccinated with the injected vaccine, you have about a 70 percent chance of preventing influenza."

70% is a crap-shoot? Really?

latest virus is no more fatal than the average

About 36,000 a year die on average from the flu each year.

Anyway, the flu shot isn't a "crap-shoot" and an immune system destroyer as you claim... it is exactly the opposite, actually.

Re:Captain Obvious (2, Interesting)

gijoel (628142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707099)

So you're planning on living in a bubble? No? Living in your casino's hotel room with Kleenex boxes on your feet? No? then just how do you plan on avoiding the flu?

In an ideal world your advice would work, but we don't live in an ideal world. People forget to wash their hands, or don't do it properly. They pick their noses cause it's fun. They'll paw your keyboard and mice because they just want to check their facebook and don't feel like tromping five feet to their own machine.

Stop pair programming? Huh, yeah sure you're PHB isn't going to tell you to man up and get on with it, is he now? Some magazine told him that it would increase productivity. If it's the choice between your sniffles and productivity, well you're gonna be sneezing a lot.

Keep sick people at home. That's a fantastic idea. You absolutely have my 150% unqualified support. Unfortunately sick people are still going to show up for work. It could be because they don't get sick leave. Or they don't think their flu is that bad. Or they've blown all their sick leave on guild raids. Or they're suffering under some messed up Calvinist work ethic that would drag their corpse into work if they could figure out some way of getting their dead limbs to work.

As for the rest of your anti-vac rant; where's your f@$#ing evidence? I'm sick of anti-vac propaganda that pulls suspicions and hysteria from its' arse and expects me to swallow it without thinking.

I'll be sticking to my annual flu shots thank you very much. And you can keep your vunerable immune system in your damn biohazard suit.

Re:Captain Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29707161)

For example, of the 151 cases in Mexico

Mmmm... cases of 151 in Mexico... are we talking about the Bacardi Flu?

Re:Captain Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706849)

More like Captain Stupidly Obvious, as well as Captain Beside the Point since the point is whether your employer or the goobermint should be able to force you to get the shot. And like even a borken clock is right twice a day, this goes to show that even famously moronic uber dickhead Bill Maher can be accidently right about something.

Why is it you can't sue. (3, Insightful)

clandonald (1652847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706767)

The makers of vaccines, if the vaccine makes you sick? http://www.attorneyatlaw.com/2009/07/dont-even-think-about-suing-if-youre-hurt-by-swine-flu-vaccines/ [attorneyatlaw.com]

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (5, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706919)

"Why is it you can't sue the makers of vaccines, if the vaccine makes you sick?"

In order for vaccination to "work" - from a public health standpoint - a majority of the population needs to be vaccinated. (I think the number's 75%.) If you are giving that many people a shot someone is going to get sick, even if there is nothing "wrong" with the vaccine. Add to that the fact that vaccines are a low margin product - per the supply/demand curve, it needs to be cheap as possible so the most people will get it.

So, you have a product that:
1) will definitely make someone sick and/or kill them
2) You are barely making any money on it
3) there is no "informed consent" defense - most vaccines are mandated.

Why would any company make such a product when they will inevitable get sued for far more than the profit from it? No one would. So the US government, in order to induce the production of vaccines, gave vaccine manufacturers immunity from suit and set up a fund to compensate the people they KNOW will be hurt.

Short answer - you can't sue for injury from a vaccine because, if you could, there would be no vaccines.

Re:Why is it you can't sue. - are you serious? (1, Interesting)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706983)

Re:Why is it you can't sue. - are you serious? (0)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707081)

How the fuck is the parent considered flaimbait? Clearly someone didn't read or their on someones payroll.

http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1400169&cid=29706953 [slashdot.org]

Re:Why is it you can't sue. - are you serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29707123)

Or, you know, you're just an idiot.

supply demand (1)

clandonald (1652847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707167)

Add to that the fact that vaccines are a low margin product - per the supply/demand curve. Really? Didn't the government award contracts to the makers of the swine flu virus worth billions? How is there a low profit margin? Especially when drug companies have no liability for their product? How many other industries are exempt from liability by the government?

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706939)

You can.

My girlfriend's mom got a flu shot years back and got nerve damage from it, the settlement is supposed to be in the 6 figure range.

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707033)

I'd bet there is more to that story than just a bad reaction to a vaccine. Not that is makes it any better for your GF's mom :(

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (1)

shadowturtle (960092) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707063)

Sounds like Guillain-Barré syndrome [wikipedia.org] . Anyways, while I believe you can still sue, since the 1988 there's been an alternative from the US government called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The Department of Health and Human Services has a page with information on this program at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/ [hrsa.gov] .

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (1)

clandonald (1652847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707085)

So tax-payer pay for the damages caused by vaccine makers. Now how come the gov doesn't pay the insurance premiums for my construction company?

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707169)

Because the group of people who are at risk from your buildings and who benefit from your buildings are very clear, and any hysteria associated with your building being dangerous only results in people not entering it, not a public health crisis. Also, it is likely that you can afford to insure yourself against liability in the private market (whereas vaccine makers probably cannot, which again leads to a public health crisis, as vaccines do more than protect the vaccinated, they bend the curve...).

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (2, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707175)

Because your construction company isn't vital to public health.

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (1)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707029)

The symptoms of the flu, such as cough and nasal drip, are the result of the activation of the immune system. Just because your immune system is recognizing antigen and mounting an immune response does not mean you have been infected with the flu virus. It simply means your immune system is being activated and as a result you will become immune to the flu.

You are most infected with the virus before you get a single symptom, because the symptoms are your body mounting a response to the virus. Just because you get a cough doesn't mean the flu-shot has the potential of infecting or killing you.

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707095)

That's what I thought was rather interesting about Anthrax. It basically turns your immune response into overdrive to the extent that it kills you. And then the bacteria can feed on your remains at leisure.

Re:Why is it you can't sue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29707141)

The makers of vaccines, if the vaccine makes you sick? http://www.attorneyatlaw.com/2009/07/dont-even-think-about-suing-if-youre-hurt-by-swine-flu-vaccines/ [attorneyatlaw.com]

For one, how do you prove it made you sick? You are exposed to an AMAZING number of other variable in your environment that could have gotten you sick. Generally this is also why most medicines have a laundry list of side-effect, because the people they tested during whatever phase of the test exibited signs of illness X, which usually has nothing to do with whatever meds they were testing, but because the person was going to get this illness regardless of the meds being tested. The same can be said of vaccines.

First Flu? (1, Insightful)

statusbar (314703) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706769)

First Flu Shot?

I wonder what happens if a worker has an existing health immune system based condition that can be adversely affected by a flu shot?

--jeffk++

Re:First Flu? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706869)

If you've got a compromised immune system, then working at a hosipital is the last thing that you want to do. Getting fired would probably save your life.

Re:First Flu? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706871)

Then they shouldn't be working in position where they can easily pick up and transmit communicable diseases such as the flu... ie, they should be in another line of work because those diseases will probably kill them.

Re:First Flu? (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707117)

It's not just hospital workers (although that's what TFA is about.) Plenty of people are required to get a flu shot that you wouldn't expect need it.

The one that surprised me are local refinery workers. There is one refinery in our region that produces virtually all of the petroleum based fuel consumed locally. If the flu were to incapacitate 50% of the employees, the refinery would have to shut down. These are trained people needed to produce a critical product, and the refinery wouldn't have the time to train temps to take over for them. Pipelines don't exist to bring in refined products from elsewhere, and the rest of the nation's refining capacity would be strained to meet the demand.

Refinery workers are exposed to a lot of things you probably wouldn't want to be exposed to, but viruses aren't commonly among them. It'd probably be a great place to work if you wanted to avoid contact with other people.

Re:First Flu? (0, Redundant)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706901)

That person probably shouldn't be working around sick people anyway.

Re:First Flu? (3, Interesting)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706997)

There's a difference between having a weak immune system and being allergic to a vaccine. For example, I've never had Whooping Cough (Pertussis), but if you give me the Pertussis vaccine I'll get extremely sick or die.

Forced Medication of Citizens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706785)

Land of the Free indeed. Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Re:Forced Medication of Citizens? (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706891)

This isn't new; if anything, mandatory vaccination laws have become much more lenient in the United States than they used to be. In the early 20th century, 11 states had fully mandatory vaccination laws, not just "must get vaccinated as a condition of attending public schools" or "must be vaccinated as a condition of working in certain occupations" sorts of things. Rather, it was a requirement for living in the jurisdiction that you must be vaccinated. Massachusetts's mandatory smallpox vaccination law was upheld by the Supreme Court in Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1905, which is still the main precedent on the subject.

Re:Forced Medication of Citizens? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706921)

Great. Can we then please stop trotting out this shit about "Land of the Free" and freedom of the individual? It clearly never existed.

Dr Google is pointless (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706791)

With the degree of hype H1N1 is getting, people are going to be searching all over at the first signs of anything - even if they don't have ANY kind of flu!

So it's a great chart to show you the regions of greatest hypochondria, but little else at this point (in other times I'm sure it's a good indicator).

Re:Dr Google is pointless (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706899)

They claim they calibrated the model against historical data, so the searchprevalence relationship at least has some validity. The relationship between searches and prevalence of infection might be different in the current situation than in previous years, of course, but they didn't just make a base assumption that searches=prevalence, but rather estimated the relationship from data.

Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706799)

Aggressive vaccinations are a good thing. Think we could have practically wiped out polio or smallpox in this country if we just kicked back and waited to see what happened? Of course the flu isn't the same, and I know it's not going anywhere. But if you think for a second that every healthcare worker shouldn't get the flu shot, you don't know a lot about healthcare. This sort of thing isn't to protect the workers, it's to protect the immunocompromised people in the hospital. They need our healthy immune systems to protect them, too.

Re:Good (0, Troll)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706875)

Aggressive vaccinations are a good thing

Aggressive vaccinations result in higher incidence of auto-immune diseases over the long term. That's why you shouldn't give your dog annual rabies shots if you want to reduce the risk of arthritis (plus, the shot is good for 10 years, and even the vets will admit that anything over every 3 years is pushing it).

ANY time you introduce foreign proteins into a host, you're going to provoke an immune response, and the more often you do, the more likely you are to have "your number come up" wrt provoking the wrong type of immune response - one where your body fails to differentiate between the foreign protein, and your own.

Wash your hands, don't pick your nose, stay away from people who show symptoms, don't share your keyboard, mouse, cell phone, or cup, get plenty of fresh air and exercise, eat right, have adequate ventilation, stay away from smokers, have a glass of something alcoholic every day or two, and you'll be fine, and you'll lower your chances of rheumetoid arthritis in your old age.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707009)

WTF? Again cheers for handwashing - as long as you aren't doing it 1000 times a day. But cites on your extraordinary claims please. And links to articles from Tijuana College of Naturopathy, Voodoo and Assorted Bullshit don't count.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29707075)

This is why /. must be understood as strictly entertainment-only. Our exhibit today is some tediously repetitive and too frequently posting geek with no medical experience riding his two hobby horses:

- "Vaccinations give you arthritis";
- OCD: "Wash your hands, don't pick your nose, stay away from people who show symptoms, don't share your keyboard, mouse, cell phone, or cup, get plenty of fresh air and exercise, eat right, have adequate ventilation, stay away from smokers, have a glass of something alcoholic every day or two, and you'll be fine" - which can be condensed into "if I clean myself sufficiently often and don't share anything of mine, I'll get no disease, so I need no vaccination".

And, while modded (+3, Informative), his house of cards falls down when he displays an inability to even spell "rheumatoid". In medicine, son, the difference between A and E (see, doctors have a sense of humour too!) can be the difference between life and death. Someone who lacks the attention to detail to learn to correctly spell the condition he believes he can talk authoritatively on is someone who is likely to make a slip-up which results in the wrong dosage being given, the wrong vessel being cut in surgery, or any number of other oopsies. And then you, the patient, die.

Except you don't, because we have exams and training and supervision and textbooks and journals and all sorts of things to stop us from coming out with random bullshit based on extrapolating from "what my vet told me one time" in one specific situation.

tl;dr lurk moar

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707091)

"Wash your hands, don't pick your nose, stay away from people who show symptoms, don't share your keyboard, mouse, cell phone, or cup, get plenty of fresh air and exercise, eat right, have adequate ventilation, stay away from smokers, have a glass of something alcoholic every day or two, and you'll be fine, and you'll lower your chances of rheumetoid arthritis in your old age."

No you won't be fine, flu is an airborne disease. Besides I'd much rather have a jab and a hypothetical chance of aches and pains in old age than going full OCD for the rest of my life.

Re:Good (-1, Troll)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706907)

"But if you think for a second that every healthcare worker shouldn't get the flu shot, you don't know a lot about healthcare."
And if you think for a second that every healthcare worker should be required to get the flu shot, then you haven't actually thought about the issue for more than about 10 fucking seconds. I got my seasonal flu shot already and I'm going to get the N1H1 shot when it's available (FYI: I don't work in healthcare), but you're making blanket statements about a large group of people with absolutely no consideration for exceptions. I can't actually think of anything stupider than that.

Where is the summary getting two thirds from? (4, Informative)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706803)

The summary is a little sensationalistic. It says 2/3 of parents are avoiding 'flu shots, whereas the article quotes 22% as the figure, with the remainder saying they would definitely vaccinate, or that they would try to vaccinate.

Re:Where is the summary getting two thirds from? (2, Funny)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706835)

But 57 percent of parents were still concerned about their child getting sick with swine flu.

See, that number is almost 2/3 and it's right there on the same page as the bit about parents refusing to vaccinate their children. It makes perfect sense!

Re:Where is the summary getting two thirds from? (1)

SierraPete94 (1641111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706847)

Right there with 2/3's of all statistics being made up on the spot.

Sounds like a healthy policy (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706809)

I know about the discussions about possible side effects of the flu jabs.

But I will accept the common wisdom that you can vaccinate against flu, this added to the for me credible reports this flu is nastier than usual I understand the rule given by this hospital.

Because when this breaks out in earnest they'll need all their personnel and some.

Hmmmm (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706823)

Let's see; people who have a very good chance of coming into direct contact with those infected with H1N1 flu on a daily basis and then subsequently coming into contact with others who may be in high-risk groups for said virus being required to get vaccinated against it? Madness, I say. This is what happens when you let government have control over health care. Socialism. Communists. Sky...falling etc.

Now termination may be a bit harsh, but removal from front-line duties for those who refuse the vaccination seems more than reasonable to me. H1N1 may not be the epic disaster that was predicted, but that doesn't mean we should just ignore it entirely.

Re:Hmmmm (1, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706911)

... or they could install sinks and hand-washing stations in every room.

More people pick up infections in the hospital than anywhere else, and one of the reasons is that basic sanitary procedures are lacking. Simple things, like doctors washing their hands after contact with a patient (and those clipboards holding charts have a LOT of nasty bugs floating on them).

Simply having doctors washing their hands between patients reduced infections by 20% in one study.

Then again, we have grown adults who still insist on picking their nose and eating their boogers at traffic lights. Ask any cop who's done time in a patrol car.

Re:Hmmmm (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707079)

If it is coming out of your nose and going into a vat of acid, it probably isn't going to make you any more sick than if it just stays in your nose.

(I don't eat boogers, but your complaint is remarkably inane)

Re:Hmmmm (1)

RanCossack (1138431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707163)

... or they could install sinks and hand-washing stations in every room.

This sounds very reasonable. I would like to join in those insisting hospital workers wash their hands instead of getting vaccines.

Sigh. If only the two were not mutually exclusive, it might be possible to do both.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707179)

I don't think hand washing is going to magic away the germs a patient coughs out and you breath in. Handwashing (again) is a fine thing.

Then, why FluMist? (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707037)

The insert on FluMist, which is being given to all healthcare workers states:

FluMist® recipients should avoid close contact with immunocompromised individuals for at least 21 days.

Why would it say that? Since it is not a killed virus, it can stay in the nasal passage for 3 weeks and easily shed and infect others. Health care workers spend a lot of their time with people who have compromised immune systems. I thought the point of vaccination was to not spread it, yet they'll be doing that by using this vaccine. Many hospitals around the country have recognized this and won't be giving FluMist to their workers.

Not only that, but it is completely pointless to vaccinate now. Most predict the flu season to peak soon, much earlier than normal. It takes close to a month for a vaccine to give you immunity. During that time you can easily catch and spread the flu.

Re:Then, why FluMist? (1)

carld (460344) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707109)

Citation please.

I dont see the problem with the mandate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706827)

If you're working with patients vulnerable to a disease or where you could be exposed to a disease, it's frequently required that you get vaccinated against the disease. For example, if you work in a nursing home you're often required to get a TB vaccine. Normally the flu isn't that bad, but this year there seems to be an unusually dangerous strain out there. And the no vaccine people are no better than the antievolution crowd. Blinded by ignorance.

And the big deal is??? (4, Insightful)

SierraPete94 (1641111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706831)

Maybe my tin foil hat isn't adjusted right, but of all the vaccines out there, the flu shot (or mist as most people get it these days) is about as safest of them all. Incredibly low side effect rate, very effective, and a guarantee that you're going to get a mild version of the flu before everybody else does. Plus, if you are working in a medical care facility, you won't be an oxygen-burning flu contamination source, making it possible to keep the spread of these viruses down to a minimum.

Yes, the Swine Vaccine in the 70's was very poorly executed and there were many problems. But holy cow folks, it's been over 30 years and medicine has come just a short distance since. For the last 18 years getting a flu shot has been a federally mandated condition of my employment and I don't even work in a health care related field--what the heck is the big deal with getting a flu shot?

Re:And the big deal is??? (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706883)

You see, this story is the perfect combination of 3 key fears of people lacking the facts (In the US, at least - most of the rest of the world doesn't care about point 1):
1. Government control of health care
2. Government using vaccinations to brainwash people (or something equally stupid)
3. Flu vaccinations killed some people once at some point in history so therefore this one will kill you if you have it

Re:And the big deal is??? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706973)

Well I live under federally mandated, provincially funded health care. Let me just say, free flu shots are nice.
If the government can brainwash people with vaccinations, awesome. I now have a plan to rule the world.
The flu vaccine kills people every year, it is however less than those who die from the flu.

So, let me continue on. Anti-vaxers on the other hand, are idiots. I've always believed that if they want to die, get deformed, or pick up something that I've already got an immunity to great on them. Just don't do me the favor and wipe humanity out on their way to the door. Yeah I realize, I'm asking a lot.

Re:And the big deal is??? (2, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707043)

Incredibly low side effect rate, very effective, and a guarantee that you're going to get a mild version of the flu before everybody else does.

The reality is quite different.

The flu vaccine has to be produced several months before flu season. So, if the experts pick the wrong strains, or even if they pick the right ones and the flu mutates in that time, you're no better off.

In fact, you are worse off, as your immune system is likely to be worse off, trying to fight this new strain of the flu that is similar, but not exactly the same: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoskins_effect [wikipedia.org]

For the last 18 years getting a flu shot has been a federally mandated condition of my employment and I don't even work in a health care related field--what the heck is the big deal with getting a flu shot?

Freedom to make one's own decisions about medical treatment is a big thing in the US, and people dislike when they are compelled against their will. I'm no exception.

Just about all the improvements in public health over the past few centuries has been from an understanding of disease spread, and modern nutrition. Most people can and will like out the overwhelming majority of their lives without requiring any form of medical assistance. Being cognizant of the spread of the virus has a much higher success rate in preventing infection than does immunization.

Re:And the big deal is??? (1)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707061)

And school children get vaccinations all the time. I work with animals, I have to be vaccinated against certain diseases so I don't pass them on to the animals. Healthcare workers are vaccinated against a lot of thing so they don't pass it on. If I were a nurse or doctor and had to examine 60 patients a day all with a cough, I would WANT the vaccine, who cares if it's mandatory?

Bill Maher is funny, but an idiot in this matter.. (5, Insightful)

rcolbert (1631881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706843)

Maher's a funny guy, and I like a lot of what he stands for. However, his stances on things like medicine and nutrition are total whack-job, and that's putting it kindly. I saw the Maher interview with Frist the other night. All I can say is that if even one person is influenced to NOT take the H1N1 vaccine based on Bill's foolish, uninformed, hippie opinion on the matter, and subsequently that person gets infected and dies, then IMO Bill is culpable. All available data strongly supports the safety and effectiveness of vaccination. Not vaccinating based on superstition is grossly irresponsible.

Re:Bill Maher is funny, but an idiot in this matte (2, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706945)

"then IMO Bill is culpable"
Why? If someone is stupid enough to take medical advice from a comedian/political satirist then any negative outcome of that is just natural selection. It's not like he's pretending to be a licensed doctor.

Re:Bill Maher is funny, but an idiot in this matte (2, Insightful)

rcolbert (1631881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707173)

that is just natural selection.

True enough on the natural selection point. However, if there's a Tsunami heading to town and someone on the radio sarcastically suggests that today is a good day to surf, there's still an element of responsibility. Contributing to the death of stupid people is funny in theory, but tragic in practice.

Re:Bill Maher is funny, but an idiot in this matte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29707007)

Great! Let's live in a country where speaking your mind can get you sued and or incarcerated. Way to land of the Free.

Re:Bill Maher is funny, but an idiot in this matte (1, Flamebait)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707013)

But you think people should pay attention to Bill Frist, noted video diagnostic specialist and cat torturer, the guy who thought it would be OK to interfere with the Terry Shiavo case without 1) examining the patient or 2) even being a neurologist? In my view anybody who listens to either of these idiots on matters of medicine is a fool.

Re:Bill Maher is funny, but an idiot in this matte (1)

rcolbert (1631881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707151)

I suppose all this goes to show is that you can torture cats and still have the correct stance on vaccination. I'm not pro-Frist by any stretch. I'm pro-vaccination.

Re:Bill Maher is funny, but an idiot in this matte (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707171)

That was essentially Maher's ploy.

By interviewing Frist, a former Senator who was the Senate Republican leader during part of his time in office, instead of some other well-known physician, Maher interposed wholly unrelated politics into the discussion about whether or not to get an H1N1 vaccination. The end result is to convince some people who disagree with Frist on other issues to accept what is essentially a "reductio ad Hitlerum" [wikipedia.org] argument: that if Bill Frist believes you should get a flu shot, then clearly, that's reason enough not to.

Flu shots in the era of John Holdren (-1, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706865)

We have a government with a Science Czar, John Holdren, who wrote in 1977 about ways to involuntarily sterilize the population by adulterating food and water supplies [zombietime.com] . Now we have a so-called influenza crisis. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has famously said: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

On what basis should we trust these people to inject us with anything?

And no, I don't believe the flu vaccine is adulterated to sterilize the population. It's unbelievable, like the government taking over the US auto industry or something equally crazy.

If the government is serious about fighting the flu, John Holdren and anyone else in the Obama Administration with similar views needs to resign as a good faith gesture to promote trust.

Re:Flu shots in the era of John Holdren (1)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706929)

Have you stopped killing hookers yet?

Re:Flu shots in the era of John Holdren (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706989)

It's been too cold and rainy to go out at night lately.

Re:Flu shots in the era of John Holdren (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706955)

Sterility from a cheap shot? Sign me up! It would save me the cash from that I'm paying to get the snipped on the 30th.

Re:Flu shots in the era of John Holdren (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707015)

Your not paranoid man. They really are out to get you!

You know, THEM. Thats right, THOSE PEOPLE.

And dude, that book does not say what that web page claims it says. Don't be suckered by irresponsible conservative politicians using conspiracy theories to stir up the whackjobs against public health.

Re:Flu shots in the era of John Holdren (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707057)

What politicians? There are no politicians involved. I just want John Holdren fired because he's not worthy of being in a non-totalitarian government. If he were fired, it would be a sign that the Obama government isn't irredeemably despotic.

The book clearly does say what that web site quotes it as saying.

hey faggots! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706897)

how about you stop sucking dicks and getting fucked up the ass and health care costs will come down.

If you listen really carefully (1)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706909)

If you listen really carefully that noise you hear is a 1000 lawyers licking their lips.

It's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706931)

Trust nobody who's opinion is biased by monetary gain, unless that monetary gain is directly and/or mainly related to the well being of your health. This is rather fundamental in a capitalisic world, and this is why people are calling out the bullshit regarding the swine flu. Generation Y is informed and critical, and generation Y doesn't listen to you just because you're a doctor. Generation Y will only listen to you if you provide proof.

Extend this policy to websites (1)

ewg (158266) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706935)

I know I would feel safer reading Slashdot knowing its employees were properly vaccinated.

Alternative health advise (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706941)

I only know Maher from youtube clips, he is a smart and funny guy but every now and then he demonstrates he hasn't quite got the hang of the critical thinking thing and comes out with "alternative" health advise that makes me groan. I once heard him repeat the 1990's greenpeace meme that putting clorine in the water to kill bugs was a BadThing(TM), never mind that it is probably the single biggest public health improvement of the 20th century in terms of lives saved.

Standard safety equipment (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29706947)

On construction sites: hard hat, steel-toed boots, and when appropriate, gloves and safety glasses

At hospitals and other health-care facilities: immunization for the kinds of diseases that are likely to come through the door, especially those with the potential for arrival en masse.

Of course it is within your rights to refuse. But no safety equipment? No, you aren't allowed on-site in the areas where the relevant hazards exist. If that precludes you working, tough.

Seems reasonable to me. It's still a choice, even if it is a harsh one. But anyone who chose to work in health care should have realized years ago what might sometimes be necessary to do the job.

What you don't know (0, Troll)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706953)

The following is a list of some of the very nasty side effects that the vaccine package insert admits to.....

*Local injection site reactions (including pain, pain limiting limb movement, redness, swelling, warmth, ecchymosis, induration)
*Hot flashes/flushes
*Chills
*Fever
*Malaise
*Shivering
*Fatigue
*Asthenia
*Facial edema.
*Immune system disorders
*Hypersensitivity reactions (including throat and/or mouth edema)
*In rare cases, hypersensitivity reactions have lead to anaphylactic shock and death
*Cardiovascular disorders
*Vasculitis (in rare cases with transient renal involvement)
*Syncope shortly after vaccination
*Digestive disorders
*Diarrhea
*Nausea
*Vomiting
*Abdominal pain.
*Blood and lymphatic disorders
*Local lymphadenopathy
*Transient thrombocytopenia.
*Metabolic and nutritional disorders
*Loss of appetite.
*Arthralgia
*Myalgia
*Myasthenia
*Nervous system disorders
*Headache
*Dizziness
*Neuralgia
*Paraesthesia
*Febrile convulsions
*Guillain-Barré Syndrome
*Myelitis (including encephalomyelitis and transverse myelitis)
*Neuropathy (including neuritis)
*Paralysis (including Bell's Palsy)
*Respiratory disorders
*Dyspnea
*Chest pain
*Cough
*Pharyngitis
*Rhinitis
*Stevens-Johnson syndrome
*Pruritus
*Urticaria
*Rash (including non-specific, maculopapular, and vesiculobulbous).

- http://www.fluscam.com/Vaccine_Package_Inserts_files/Novartis_A-H1N1_2009_Monvalent_VaccinePackageInsert_BasedOn1980Approvalfor%20Fluvirin_UCM182242.pdf [fluscam.com]

http://www.doh.wa.gov/Publicat/2009_news/09-154.htm [wa.gov] - "Mercury limits suspended for H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine to improve access" (bullshit, but ok)

FYI, squalene, mercury, adjuvants(look it up), cancer virus cell base = your H1N1 Vaccine

Die slow, and a happy new year to all.

Or they could lie about it and keep their jobs. (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707017)

Sociopaths could keep their jobs by falsifying their vaccination records and spreading the flu to all of the people that are supposedly protected by the shots. This is always a possibility if jobs are threatened. With tens of millions of vaccines, seems like an awful lot to accurately keep track of, especially without a health plan...perhaps we should combine the effort with the US Census as well as stimulus to the unemployed. That should be extra fun.

Seasonal vs pandemic = two different strategies (2, Insightful)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707023)

The most vulnerable need seasonal flu inoculations. The strategy for a pandemic is still under debate. [latimes.com]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that when the H1N1 flu vaccine is ready, the first people to get it should be children and young adults between age 6 months and 24 years. That strategy is expected to result in 59 million swine flu cases, 139,000 deaths and cost $67 billion. But there is a better way, according to researchers from Yale and Clemson universities. Flushot If vaccine doses were first distributed to children between age 5 and 19 and to adults age 30 to 39, there would be 15 million fewer infections and 31,000 fewer deaths, write mathematician Jan Medlock and epidemiologist Alison Galvani in Friday's edition of the journal Science. Their strategy would also save $14 billion, they calculate.

Once again... (-1, Troll)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707115)

...and don't dare mark this shit without reading it! You drones need to wake up.

The following is a list of some of the very nasty side effects that the vaccine package insert admits to.....

*Local injection site reactions (including pain, pain limiting limb movement, redness, swelling, warmth, ecchymosis, induration)
*Hot flashes/flushes
*Chills
*Fever
*Malaise
*Shivering
*Fatigue
*Asthenia
*Facial edema.
*Immune system disorders
*Hypersensitivity reactions (including throat and/or mouth edema)
*In rare cases, hypersensitivity reactions have lead to anaphylactic shock and death
*Cardiovascular disorders
*Vasculitis (in rare cases with transient renal involvement)
*Syncope shortly after vaccination
*Digestive disorders
*Diarrhea
*Nausea
*Vomiting
*Abdominal pain.
*Blood and lymphatic disorders
*Local lymphadenopathy
*Transient thrombocytopenia.
*Metabolic and nutritional disorders
*Loss of appetite.
*Arthralgia
*Myalgia
*Myasthenia
*Nervous system disorders
*Headache
*Dizziness
*Neuralgia
*Paraesthesia
*Febrile convulsions
*Guillain-Barré Syndrome
*Myelitis (including encephalomyelitis and transverse myelitis)
*Neuropathy (including neuritis)
*Paralysis (including Bell's Palsy)
*Respiratory disorders
*Dyspnea
*Chest pain
*Cough
*Pharyngitis
*Rhinitis
*Stevens-Johnson syndrome
*Pruritus
*Urticaria
*Rash (including non-specific, maculopapular, and vesiculobulbous).

- http://www.fluscam.com/Vaccine_Package_Inserts_files/Novartis_A-H1N1_2009_Monvalent_VaccinePackageInsert_BasedOn1980Approvalfor%20Fluvirin_UCM182242.pdf [fluscam.com]

http://www.doh.wa.gov/Publicat/2009_news/09-154.htm [wa.gov] - "Mercury limits suspended for H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine to improve access" (bullshit, but ok)

FYI, squalene, mercury, adjuvants(look it up), cancer virus cell base = your H1N1 Vaccine

Die slow, and a happy new year to all.

Nice catchphrase (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707131)

"Get shot or get fired". I like the sound of that.

We're talking about a hospital, (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29707139)

A place where sick people kind of _have_ to hang around, many with immune systems that are depressed by illness or suppressed by medications. Decreasing the likelihood that staff, who are there most of the week, will transmit virulent illnesses to at-risk patients is a good thing.
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