Dispatch: Mandatory flu shots for health care workers?

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Two public health groups are calling for mandatory flu shots for all health care workers after a sizeable percentage of them refused vaccinations during last year’s H1N1 (“swine flu”) pandemic. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America make the case in the pages of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, noting that health care workers are already required to have regular tuberculosis skin tests and proof of other vaccinations.

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is on board. “Why shouldn’t they be mandated to have a flu shot?” she asks. “They’re in daily contact with patients.”

ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross agrees: “The flu shot is completely safe and generally effective,” he says. “There’s absolutely no reason why they should decline to get it, other than superstition. And it’s fine for them to be superstitious and afraid of vaccines — but not when it causes an increased likelihood of their clients and patients getting influenza.”