There should be mandatory flu vaccines for all health care workers, american academy of pediatrics

There should be mandatory flu vaccines for all health care workers, american academy of pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced today that it believes all health care workers should have mandatory (compulsory) flu shots. The AAP adds that health-care associated influenza outbreaks contribute considerably to patient morbidity and mortality and also place a financial burden on health care systems. Health care associated influenza outbreaks are common, says the AAP.

In view of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a new policy statement, recommends that all health care workers should have to receive a flu shot every year.

The AAP policy "Recommendation for Mandatory Influenza Immunization of All Health Care Personnel", published in the journal Pediatrics, October 2010 issue, states that:

Despite the efforts of many organizations to improve influenza immunization rates with the use of voluntary campaigns, influenza coverage among health care personnel remains unacceptably low.

According to the AAP, annual influenza's toll includes:

  • 610,600 life-years lost
  • 3.1 million days of hospitalization
  • 314 million outpatient visits
  • An estimated cost burden of $87 billion in the USA
The AAP, in its statement, stresses that the compulsory influenza vaccination of every health care worker is "ethically justified, necessary and long overdue to ensure patient safety".

In a press release today, the AAP writes:

The influenza vaccine is safe, effective, and cost-effective, so health care organizations must work to assuage common fears and misconceptions about the influenza virus and the vaccine.

What is influenza?

Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. Flu is highly contagious and is usually spread by the coughs and sneezes of a person who is infected. You can also catch flu from an infected person if you touch them (e.g. shaking hands). Adults are contagious one day before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after becoming ill. This means that you can spread the influenza virus before you even know you are infected. A flu epidemic, when a large number of people in one country are infected with flu, can last several weeks.

It is common to confuse flu with a bad cold. Flu and cold symptoms may include a runny/blocked nose, sore throat, and cough. Here are some symptoms which a person with flu will have. These are not common heavy cold symptoms:

  • aching joints, aching limbs
  • cold sweats, shivers
  • fatigue, feeling utterly exhausted
  • gastro-intestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, are much more common among children than adults
  • headache
  • high temperature
In the majority of cases flu is not serious - it is just unpleasant. For some people, however, there can be severe complications. This is more likely if you are elderly or have some other longstanding illness that can undermine your immune system. Your risk of experiencing severe flu complications is higher if:
  • you are over 65
  • you are a baby or a very young child
  • you are pregnant
  • you have some kind of heart or cardiovascular disease
  • you have a chest problem, such as asthma or bronchitis
  • you have a kidney disease
  • you suffer from diabetes
  • you are taking steroids
  • you are undergoing treatment for cancer
  • you have any longstanding disease that can significantly lower your immune system
Some of the complications caused by influenza may include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections.

In the United States approximately 5% to 20% of the population gets flu, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications each year, and about 36,000 people are estimated to die as a result of flu.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in annual influenza epidemics 5% to 15% of the world's population become ill with upper respiratory tract infections. Hospitalization and deaths mainly occur in high-risk groups. It is estimated that between one quarter to one half of a million people die each year as a result of flu. In industrialized countries the majority of deaths as a result of flu occur among people over the age of 65 years.

Health experts and government agencies throughout the world say that the single best way to protect yourself from catching flu is to get vaccination every year. There are two types of vaccinations, the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine. The flu shot is administered with a needle, usually in the arm - it is approved for people older than six months, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions. The nasal-spray flu vaccine is a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not make you ill.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, internal archives.

Flu Vaccine - Essential for Healthcare Workers (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Disease