Hospitals make flu shots mandatory
By Ben Sutherly THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Local hospitals are finding that mandates are the best way to boost flu-vaccination rates among their workers.
This fall, Mount Carmel Health System became the most-recent central Ohio hospital system to require employee flu vaccinations. By late January 2013, Ohio-Health said it will begin to hold accountable any employees who disregard a similar mandate that it first told them about during the 2011-12 flu season.
Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital began requiring employees to get the vaccine three years ago following the H1N1 flu scare.
“The concern was, no one knew how severe this would be,” said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, an infectious-disease specialist at Children’s.
Even well-meaning employees could spread the flu virus before realizing that they had symptoms, he said.
Mandates significantly increased vaccination rates at both hospitals.
Coverage at Children’s was 96 percent during the 2011-12 flu season, up from 61 percent four years earlier, before the mandate took effect.
Wexner Medical Center’s vaccination rate reached 85 percent during the 2011-12 flu season. That’s up from 34 percent during the 2008-09 flu season, but the earlier rate is likely an undercount because it doesn’t include employees who received flu vaccinations outside the workplace.
By comparison, OhioHealth and Mount Carmel reported 2011-12 vaccination rates of 60 percent and 53 percent, respectively.
Among U.S. hospitals that require flu shots, the vaccination rate was 95.2 percent during the 2011-12 season, compared with 68.2 percent at hospitals where they were not mandated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At least five Franklin County residents died of the H1N1 flu in 2009, underscoring the severity of certain flu strains. Nationwide, an estimated 12,470 people died during the H1N1 outbreak, according to the CDC.
“It really is a disease that can kill,” said Dr. Paul Kirk, medical director of employee health at Wexner Medical Center.
No local hospital requires that all employees get a flu shot. Exceptions are made for those with medical conditions that might trigger an adverse reaction to the vaccine or those who decline vaccines for philosophical or religious reasons.
“We’re trying to be sensitive to contraindications and concerns of conscience,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, OhioHealth’s chief medical officer.
At Wexner Medical Center, those who refuse vaccines on religious or philosophical grounds are asked to fill out waivers. Hospital officials try to change their minds by pointing out the science behind the vaccine and the risks of not being vaccinated to them, to patients and to their families.
“It’s very touchy, and you walk a thin line between being discriminatory and doing what’s right from a medical standpoint,” Kirk said.
Penalties for noncompliance vary among hospitals.
Children’s employees found to be noncompliant might receive cost-of-living pay increases but not merit-pay raises, Cunningham said. At Wexner Medical Center, employees who don’t receive the vaccine by Dec. 31 of each flu season will lose computer access.
That leaves most workers unable to do their jobs, with the exception of some maintenance and custodial workers, Kirk said. “It’s gotten people’s attention.”
Nobody has been terminated for noncompliance, he said.
OhioHealth employees who forgo the shots are subject to the hospital system’s progressive disciplinary system, though it’s not a firing offense if it is the first blemish on an employee’s record, Ohio-Health officials said.
After Dec. 31, Mount Carmel employees won’t be able to work until they’ve complied with the new vaccination policy, spokesman Jason Koma said.
Not all physicians who work in a hospital are employed by that hospital, creating a potential gap in vaccination coverage.
Wexner Medical Center said it ensures that such physicians receive the flu vaccine through their credentialing process, and OhioHealth expects any non-employed physicians with privileges to attest on paper that they’ve received the vaccination, just as employed physicians do.
Children’s encourages non-employed physicians to get the vaccine, which it offers free of charge. “We don’t track or mandate this, because it is such a small number,” a hospital spokeswoman said.
Nationwide, hospital workers have the highest rates of vaccination, according to an April survey by the CDC. Coverage was 76.9 percent among hospital employees. firstname.lastname@example.org
Needless to say, I am completely – - 100% against the use of Flu shots for anyone at all, but most especially, small children whose immune systems often are not able to handle these endless assaults on them and the same (almost), goes for our geriatric crowd because their immune systems have lived long through much abuse and have no doubt highly diminished. [Yours truly excepted, of course or anyone else who does deliberately strive to insure a strong immune system]. So I have a few things I’d like to say with regard to how we generally can keep ourselves much more likely to avoid falling victim to this Flu bug they tell us awaits our every turn or breath. Talk about mind-numbing brain-washing! First, here is a message from Dr Mercola from a year ago speaking on this same subject. Watch this and then conclude with me:
Oct 19, 2011 – Another influenza season is beginning, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will strongly urge Americans to get a flu …
So some of the things we can do for ourselves through the colder seasons when we have to have heat going, is to humidify (moisturize) the air. That is something I have done since I was first a mother and I noticed how dry the air could get in the house when the heat was on. The membranes in our nasal passages dry and even hurt and become very susceptible to infection when their structure changes like that. It makes a big difference, believe me. You can notice your plants smiling with that added moisture too.
For the times one can’t be with a humidifier nearby, one can carry a small squeeze bottle of “AYR” for the same purpose. Of course, you could make an efficient product by yourself – its only a saline solution, so stir in some sea salt into pure water and maybe add a few drops of aloe for that gentle healing effect. But one still needs the little squeeze bottle. I save the old AYR bottles as they are endlessly useful. I add about 1/2 teaspoon of Colloidal Silver to one in both bathroom and kitchen – for spraying into the nose if there is a tickle or you suspect a problem.
There is still one more little thing I have done for years (and even with my grand-daughters as I cared for them), and that is a matter of Strep throat. Strep throat will yield to pure strength garlic, using a garlic press -mashed to a pulp [retaining juice and all]. I used to tear off a small piece of sour-dough bread, but I guess anything would do – a piece of tortilla or etc., slather a little butter on [to offset the pain of the garlic] and then take small bites and chew it slowly till it runs down your throat of its own accord – keeping it there in throat area as long as possible. Then the next bite and the next. Take your time. Wipe away the tears with tissue as garlicky fingers can burn delicate eye area. It hurts, for sure. My little girls did it too and even managed a smile, see Nana, I did it. BUT, it takes the pain away from the Strep throat and the coughing pretty well slows to a stop also. If needed, can repeat in hours or next day, but the Strep is history. And they say one NEEDS antibiotic – no other way to handle this dangerous condition. Well, it works for me.
The other major thing we can all do is to take enough of the Vitamin D3. Dr Mercola speaks on this in the video also. I’m taking 10K daily and will continue to do so until I can get back outside and be in the sunshine comfortably. He says something about 2K to 5K daily, but I need 10K to get where I need to be. The only way to know where you really are is through a blood test. Apparently I was off-the-charts low all my life til I asked my doctor to check me and I was found to be @ 13, . . doctor gave me 50K on a weekly dosage – got up to 40. I wanted to get closer to 100. So I started buying a different product and took 10K daily and got up to 70 + Like to keep it right around there. All my life, I caught every germ air-born or otherwise if it could find its way anywhere near me. And it was bad. Sometimes, I simply wanted to give up. Since starting with D3, haven’t had a cold or Flu since and no pneumonia at all. Counting my blessings every day.
From what I’ve told you from a lifetime of “experience,” you can see why I am opposed to gestapo means of demanding that any person MUST ingest anything at all. We are reputed to be a FREE PEOPLE with rights. No one should be able to dictate to us what we eat or how we eat it. . .nor what medicines we take or don’t take. What is going on within the medical establishment – most especially from the giant, powerful BIG PhRMA, is simply reprehensible. That the government has struck a dicker with these schemers and allows laws to be passed which in any way forces citizenry to comply is nothing short of the days of torture and death done by the Nazis of yesteryear. This simply CAN NOT STAND!
If we want to keep valued principles alive as we proceed down our path toward “Government of the people, by the people and FOR the people, we’re gonna have to work a little harder for it than we have been doing, oh say, the last 40 years or so. . . Our recent experience should have shown us all something. The president asked us to make our wishes known by calling our reps in Congress and Senate and telling them what we want (with regard to that cliff and taxes, etc.) Well, this is the first sign I’ve seen in many a year where WE have the attention of people in government. I’m likin’ it. Lets try it on the freedom to say NO to medicine we don’t want and which we believe is not only not beneficial – - but openly, in your face harmful. We want an end to forced vaccinations of any kind. But this thing, where hospitals are going to can people who refuse to allow themselves to be poisoned and maybe slain, just to keep a job? I DON’T THINK SO. So why are they doing it? – - just because they can. During these economic times, how many financially hard-put people are willing to walk away from a paycheck? Its illegal and its coercion. Where’s a ballsy lawyer when you want one?
I actually have a BUCKET LIST of things I want to see before I leave this lovely plane, and by golly, I truly do want to see some of them, but I promise, I won’t get started on that right now. You’ve been patient and I appreciate it, I know how soap-boxish I can be. Luv you all . . . . . Jan)