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Medicine Science

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

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  • by clandonald ( 1652847 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:05PM (#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]
  • First Flu? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by statusbar ( 314703 ) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:06PM (#29706769) Homepage Journal

    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?


  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:07PM (#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).

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:08PM (#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:Captain Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by daninspokane ( 1198749 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:09PM (#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?
  • Hmmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:10PM (#29706823) Homepage

    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.

  • by SierraPete94 ( 1641111 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:12PM (#29706831) Homepage

    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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:13PM (#29706837)

    remind me again, what are your medical qualifications?

  • by rcolbert ( 1631881 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:14PM (#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.
  • by clandonald ( 1652847 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:16PM (#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:First Flu? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:18PM (#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? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:18PM (#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.

  • by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:19PM (#29706883) Homepage

    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:Hmmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:23PM (#29706911) Journal

    ... 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.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:27PM (#29706941) Journal
    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.
  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:28PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:28PM (#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.

  • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grommit ( 97148 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:29PM (#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.
  • Dumbass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmitchel!jmitchel.co ( 254506 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:34PM (#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:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmitchel!jmitchel.co ( 254506 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:39PM (#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.
  • by uassholes ( 1179143 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:40PM (#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.

  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:41PM (#29707031) Journal

    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

  • Mods (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:44PM (#29707047) Journal

    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:Hmmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:50PM (#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:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:51PM (#29707091) Journal
    "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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 10, 2009 @07:54PM (#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.

  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @08:02PM (#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.

  • by rcolbert ( 1631881 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @08:02PM (#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.

  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @08:02PM (#29707175) Journal
    Because your construction company isn't vital to public health.
  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 10, 2009 @08:06PM (#29707209)

    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).

    Citation needed.

    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.

    Yup, gonna need a citation on that one as well...

    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.

    Agreed on this part, but a lot of it can be an unavoidable issue if you share a computer at work.

  • by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @08:13PM (#29707267)
    My question is why paranoid parents opinions of their children is considered more valid than a head of medicine's. They are biased first off, and ignorant on the subject matter. Seems pretty silly, especially with the "Dr." jab.
  • by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @08:17PM (#29707299) Journal

    Add to that the fact that vaccines are a low margin product

    I have trouble believing that. :P

    Even $6 profit on a vaccine is still 1.2 billion dollars profit if you have 200 million vaccinations.

    But honestly, I've seen the way some of these vaccines are produced, so I have trouble believing they cost more than $0.50 per dose. I haven't kept up on what an H1N1 vaccine costs our governments per dose, but I'm betting the profit is higher than $6.

  • by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @08:24PM (#29707333)
    No, nice fallacious attack though. I think he's say instead of listening to a comedian you should listen to a doctor or a head of medicine. Or hell listen to the data.
  • Re:First Flu? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HiThere ( 15173 ) <charleshixsn@ea r t h l i n k.net> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @09:14PM (#29707699)

    It sounds like he's allergic to horse serum. Whooping cough doesn't have anything to do with that, so it would probably a much lesser risk. (Still, he shouldn't be in a line of work where he would be likely to act as a vector.)

  • by niteHawk337 ( 991167 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @09:27PM (#29707795)
    Those of us that work in IT, and never got to the hospitals proper (my guys work in an office building away from the hospital and patient care areas), arer still required to take the seasonal flu. H1N1, is actually not required as of yet (there are several nurses unions fighting it). The reason we are required, is that in no way can you predict who will be in contact with patients.. for example half of my guys never leave the building.. several (including me) have to have meetings sometimes on the hospital campus... if I get exposed, then I, in turn expose my guys... Bottom line - I hate the flu shot... never took it until this year when it was made mandatory, and frankly the only reason I did that is I like my job. Tose in Healthcare that do not want to take the vac, are free to leave, and I think they should...
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @09:31PM (#29707831)
    And by the way, chlorine in water is not just the single biggest public health improvement of the 20th century. It is by far the biggest health improvement in the entire history of the human species

    I'd put down "handwashing" as the biggest. Or just general hygene after learning about microbes. The number one killer of women up until the early 1900s wasn't bad water, it was childbirth. And one of the reasons being that they'd bleed, and they'd have people touching them in places with open wounds. Gunshots used to be nearly 100% fatal. Nick a small toe? Death. Why? infection. It wasn't water killing people, it was infections. The statistics are hard to make out, but it seems that doctors were more likely to kill you than cure your for a large portion of history. They were dirty and did things like attach leaches. And water had nothing to do with that.
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @09:35PM (#29707851)

    I guess all I'm really saying is that in the debate about vaccination -- and I don't even think there's enough evidence to support a reasonable anti-vaccination position -- a discussion between Bill Maher and Bill Frist adds nothing. You might as well have Cheech and Chong talking about it.

  • by RedSteve ( 690399 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @09:39PM (#29707875)

    Nice try, but squalene and other adjuvants are forbidden in U.S. vaccines by the FDA. With regards to the mercury, if it's that big of a concern to you, I hope you are on a tuna-free diet because there is more mercury in a tuna sandwich than in the thiomersal of any vaccine available in the U.S..

    As for your scary-sounding list, yes, it's a list of possible adverse effects that a person may experience - but it is not an indication of likelihood. No medication is without risk, but in general, people take the medication because the benefits outweigh the risks by a significant margin.

    To put it in a grossly exaggerated, probably flawed slashdot-style analogy, the documented possible side effects of flying in a plane are motion sickness, legionnaire's disease, food poisoning, lice infestation, mental anguish, deep vein thrombosis, alcohol abuse, insomnia, halitosis, delayed departure, poverty, or becoming part of a suicide mission that turns your plane into a bomb. But more likely than any of those you'll get to your destination with very little lasting impact on your personal health or safety - as long as you remember that stupid 4-1-1 rule.

  • by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @10:14PM (#29708099)

    Just so you know, and not really related to 'swine flu'.

    I recently noticed how much more encumbered my years are now that I don't get regular flu shots. As a part of my work in the past, I got flu shots yearly and seemingly never got the flu. I never noticed how 'good' I had it until the last 4 years where I've been a student and haven't gotten the shot.... And so now I spend at least one, if not 2, weeks out of the year suffering.

    It took me 4 years to realize how good I had it back then and to take note that I might benefit happily and greatly from a $16 flu shot.

  • by wisty ( 1335733 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @10:17PM (#29708109)

    "A flu shot does not mean you won't get the flu [it is based on] predictions are made a year in advance"

    Yeah, but they usually work. Have you ever had a flu? I'd rather a prick on the arm and a bit of nausea for a day, even if it wasn't 100% likely to stop the flu.

    I'll agree that the swine flu is bad, but not catastrophic (it might mutate into something really deadly over the next 5 years, just like the Spanish one but the vaccine will be useless), and that big pharma will do anything for a buck, but it's still worth getting vaccinated.

  • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @10:20PM (#29708127)
    If you didn't question medical advice, you would be a drugged out wreck of a human.
  • And the point is? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @10:24PM (#29708145) Journal

    I have to have a tetanus shot and have First Aid, CPR, AED certs. Those are a condition of my employment. No shots, no certs, no paycheck.

    I also have to wear steel toe boots, a hardhat, and a dayglo safety vest if I'm on a job site.

    Let's face it, if you work in a high-risk area, your employer would be negligent in *not* requiring you to take reasonable and practical precautions.

    If you don't like, the door swings both ways.

  • by Vexorian ( 959249 ) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @11:32PM (#29708421)

    You sir, are not a healthy skeptic, to quote you from another post:

    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.

    This is woo woo non-science , i.e. you are full of shit, please try better next time you want to pose as a healthy skeptic.

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @01:15AM (#29708871)

    And you've apparently not been educated in immunology, or contagion. If a disease is moderately virulent (like the common cold, or the flue), but the vaccine is prevalent (such as 90% or better of school children, who are incredibly susceptible), outbreaks are very small and likely not to spread. If the vaccine is rare, the disease can still spread as a serious contagion: a plague, if the disease is dangerous enough.

    AIDS is a fascinating example. It takes serious work to get AIDS: blood-to-blood transfer is unusual. But the idiots who first got it spread it _virulently_ through the susceptible group, so broadly that it's entered the general population in places like South Africa. And a hospital is a festering ground for infection: the sick people go there, otherwise healthy people get the disease and spread it to other patients unless their clean procedures are ver, very good, and the same staff person may see many other patients or clean many other rooms or handle many other cafeteria trays and spread the disease wildly among otherwise weakened people. They _should_ be vaccinated, for the safety of the patients.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @02:57AM (#29709231) Journal
    How about taking this seriously.

    Remember how everyone was panicking about the 151 deaths from swine flu when it first started? Everyone trumpeted that number. You don't hear them being equally loud about admitting that the number was totally bogus, that the actual death toll was 7! Gee, I wonder why? Oh, maybe because it would make them look stupid and ruin their credibility the next time they tried to pull some more numbers out their rectums?

    A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world.

    Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

    "Unfortunately that [150-plus deaths] is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organisation," Ms Allan told ABC Radio today.

    All the numbers since then have been equally unreliable. For example, its been admitted that in many subsequent "H1N1" cases, no test was done to verify if the patient actually had swine flu, because of the cost and time involved. This isn't just in the developing world, either - the US has stopped counting.

    Also, there's no indication that H1N1 is any more fatal than any other flu - indeed, the worst estimate puts it the same as any other flu, and that may be over-hyped because many people may get a mild case of H1N1 and recover on their own, further lowering the death rate. It's extremely unlikely (to the point of flat-out impossible) that every person who got it went to a hospital and was tested. Tose most at risk - the fat slobs, the morbidly obese who are already most at risk, and will probably die of something else if H1N1 doesn't finish them off, but the true cause of their demise isn't H1N1 - it's that extra 13 meals a day.

    Of course, it's been all hype right from the beginning, as others have pointed out, to deaf ears: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Stirring up "swine flu" hysteria http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/laura-h-kahn/stirring-swine-flu-hysteria [thebulletin.org]

    People simply don't want to know the truth, because it doesn't give them that frison of fear - this "epidemic" isn't any worse than a regular flu outbreak, and it's certainly not either swine or avian flu, based on its' genetic code, so really, let's all take a chill pill, follow the money to see who's benefiting from the hype, and kick them in the nuts [metacafe.com].

  • by Lars512 ( 957723 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @03:16AM (#29709287)

    Vaccination is often all or nothing. Call it tyranny of the majority if you like-- most of us want to live. Deal with it.

    Vaccination is NEVER "all or nothing".

    If the vaccination works, you won't get sick, no matter what the rest of the world does. So why do you believe forcing it on everyone is a good idea?

    You misunderstand vaccination's main benefit as protecting the vaccinated individual, when it is instead protecting those who would otherwise have been made sick by the now vaccinated individual. If most people get the appropriate vaccinations, all of society is better off, since even if non-vaccinated individuals get sick the illness will have a more difficult time propagating. In other words, vaccination as a society-wide strategy is only effective if a high-enough proportion of people get vaccinated. That's why, if we're vaccinating at all, it's fair enough to force it on everybody who would reasonably find it effective. If you want to be the exception, then you're putting not just yourself but also other people at risk.

  • by KFW ( 3689 ) * on Sunday October 11, 2009 @07:35AM (#29710207)

    This is only partly true (only a very small part) and much less so now.

    The drug companies did sponsor some thin "throw-away" quick reference books on narrow topics. With the crackdown on drug companies, this is much less true now.

    Drug companies didn't and still don't fund or write any of the major medical reference texts that are used primarily. They would sometimes buy them to give away to doctors (again, this happens much less now), but they didn't have input on the content. I've edited major medical texts, and know the editors of other leading texts, and know that drug company concerns had nothing to do with the content.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:59AM (#29710575)

    "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."

    That's fine. But if you are saying that as a worker, you have freedom to not choose, than in all fairness that right extends directly to your employer as to who works for them, where the employer should also be able to say "you don't phrackin work here anymore."

    If the worker is incompetent and doesn't take care to protect himself, I don't want him in my employ. He is free to get a new job, free to start a new business, but he won't work here. Some scared staffer of vaccines or righteous ass "it's my body" has no business in a health care setting

    Similarly, this is a health CARE setting. It's a service industry. First, they are the first wave of defense; it's a responsibility and professionalism issue. If you want to work in health care, provide care, and be a first responder or employee providing care, you have an obligation not to spread the disease and to be AVAILABLE to provide care as a condition of your employee. If people didn't get vaccinated, a quarter of the hospital staff gets nailed, and the local area starts to flood in, your obligation to provide care is seriously undermined if you are understaffed. So much so, I would say that if you CHOOSE to not get vaccinated and are unavailable when your job requires it, that's negligance since the outcome and consequences are forseeable.

    The patient futher has a right to know who is treating him, who has been immunized, and the environment of his care. Just as MRSA should be fully disclosed, so should flu spread and who has been vaccinated. If I expect the local burger joint cook to wash his hands by the regs, I sure as hell expect not to pick up the flu (that can put me out 2 weeks or potentially kill me) from the staffer who treated my broken arm.

    Employment is not only not mandatory but voluntary. You do not have to work in a free society. You do not have a right to a job. You do not have a right to a particular job. You can choose your job. You don't have the right to a particular employment of a particular job. You can choose where you work and who employees you. These are good things. In turn, employers have a right to choose as well.

    The institution you work at is usually under guidelines to be fair, but they are not obligation to guarantee your job. Nor should they be. You are free to move to another state for employment if you don't like it in NY. They are free to hire competent people. You don't get a flu shot, you are not a competent staffer or health care worker. You have a right to get fired or moved or displaced.

    Frankly, if you are a hospital provider or staffer and don't care to get immunized, you don't have the right to get provide HEALTH CARE treatment. We don't need a flu Mary nurse working in a hospital.

    If a hospital staffer doesn't like the institutions or NY's regs, they are free to move to another state and institution that doesn't have them. They are even free to set up shop in that locality. They are even free, gasp, to move out of the country for their employment.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!