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Government Medicine

Mandatory H1N1 Vaccine For NY Health Workers Suspended 292

lunatick writes "The controversial mandatory swine flu vaccine for health care workers in NY has been suspended. While the reason for the suspension was stated as a shortage of the vaccine, a connection was found showing state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. and/or his wife may directly profit from the sale of the vaccine. Within hours of that connection being questioned on a radio show and the podcast being distributed, the announcement was made suspending the order. The health care community of NYS is petitioning the State Attorney general to investigate the connection."
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Mandatory H1N1 Vaccine For NY Health Workers Suspended

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  • BUSTED! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @03:47PM (#29858985)

    H1N1 may indeed be pandemic in NYS, but it's still not as prevalent as corruption.

  • by Manip ( 656104 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @03:59PM (#29859087)

    I've read suggestions to make people (kids in particular) get vaccinations before but frankly I have never been comfortable with the concept. When you start telling people that they must put something foreign into their bodies at what point exactly does it stop?

    Plus what happens if this vaccine turns out to have nasty side effects? Is the state who mandated it responsible or will they just wash their hands and say - "You had a choice!" That's what they tried to do after all the medication they made soliders take in the first gulf war turned out to have serious long term side effects.

    Going into crazy paranoia zone here now, but how long until RFID chips (which have already been linked to cancer) will be mandatory for government employees for "security reasons?"

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @03:59PM (#29859097)

    Isn't that sort of a defining aspect of a union?

  • hunh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Caffinated ( 38013 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:03PM (#29859133) Homepage
    So, the "scandal" here is that his wife works for Golman Sachs and that pharma stocks are overpriced? Somehow mandating that healthcare workers get vaccinated against a new flu is somehow a huge conspiracy to profit for them how? I recognize that the tin-foil-hat brigade has kicked onto high alert over H1N1 vaccination, but this is stupid. This is front page material how?
  • by Herkum01 ( 592704 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:10PM (#29859193)

    Yeah, I mean what if a doctor gets busy? It is not like if a doctor does not washes their hands between patients [] that nothing bad will come of it.

    And everyone knows that a hospital worker getting sick is so much more important than the patient, especially those people who may have a weaken immune system because they are already sick.

  • Re:BUSTED! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:15PM (#29859235)

    The fear over 'vaccine profit conspiracy' is unfounded. Hit google scholar and look up vaccine efficacy.. you will find dozens of articles from a whole variety of scientists to support the value and efficacy of vaccines.

    NY should fire anyone who doesn't want it because they will put their patients at risk; patients who deserve a better sense of health safety when their lives are at already at risk.

  • by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:33PM (#29859369)

    If you have direct patient contact, you should be doing all you can to keep your patients from getting more sick. That means getting your vaccines and getting tests for certain diseases. Or do you think TB testing shouldn't be mandatory for front-line hospital workers as they are now?

  • So (Score:2, Insightful)

    by symes ( 835608 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:36PM (#29859399) Journal
    Either H1N1 is so serious that we do need a vaccine. Or it's ok to delay vaccinations while we get the finances sorted out. Something smells. And speaking as someone who has had it... all I can say is that it really doesn't seem much worse than regular flu. My only conclusion is that there's a bunch of people making a whole load of money off our fears. Global financial meltdown, H1N1... what's next? We need to give up another few trillion to save ourselves from a plague of locusts? Oh... too late for that one...
  • Re:BUSTED! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:38PM (#29859421)

    Yes, flu tends to do that. We don't see mandatory vaccinations for every random strain of flu though.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:38PM (#29859425) Journal
    And if yes, then there is clear favouritism in giving limited supplies of a vaccine (currently enough to vaccinate around 10% of the population) to politicians first.
  • by BACPro ( 206388 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:55PM (#29859555)

    How can you have a positive slant vaccine article?

    "Man gets immunized, doesn't get the sniffles..."

    Not very newsworthy.

  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @04:59PM (#29859603)
    I don't really see why you're conflating this with abortion, and then heaping the blame on liberals. It strikes me as very disingenuous to even compare the two things. You were vaccinated as an infant against diseases, do you also consider that to be a violation of your privacy rights? To me it doesn't seem like a bad idea to have health care workers, in a heavily populated city like New York, to be vaccinated against something they'll likely be exposed to.

    To me this looks more like 'six degrees of separation' being made by a local right-wing radio station.
  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @05:03PM (#29859657)
    It's a right-wing radio station.

    Reading the site that is linked, they don't even have any tangible evidence that there is something going on. A lot of guilt by association innuendo, six degrees of separation connections, and 'what if' type questions.

    The CDC says it's because of the shortage of the vaccine. I'll trust them, for the time being, over a biased right-wing radio station.
  • by venicebeach ( 702856 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @05:10PM (#29859705) Homepage Journal
    Because getting an abortion doesn't endanger anyone else.

    The reason vaccinations are mandated is because each person serves as a potential vessel to spread the disease to many other people. Your choice of whether or not to take it is something that affects us all.

    I agree we should have a choice about what goes into our bodies, but this is the reasoning, and its not without merit.
  • by SetupWeasel ( 54062 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @05:16PM (#29859759) Homepage

    Mandatory vaccines in hospitals make a lot of sense. You don't want a doctor or nurse showing up to work in the ICU and spreading the flu. It is really common sense. For those people who claimed that requiring a vaccine was some sort of invasion of their civil rights, most medical workers I know have to take a lot of vaccines when they start they start the job. Hell, I had a list of vaccines I had to have just to go to college.

    As a health worker, your first responsibility is to your patients, and getting the flu shot is part of that.

  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @05:19PM (#29859789)
    It's not difficult at all. A woman receiving an abortion isn't working at a hospital where her abortion can spread to people with weakened immune systems.

    Vaccinating people who are working at hospitals, who can spread a virus to everyone they come in contact with as part of their job, isn't in the same league with abortion at all.

    You're acting like these are forced vaccinations to the population, and they're not. It seems to me that this is a very common sense thing to do, to keep a virus from being spread in a hospital...
  • Re:BUSTED! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NFN_NLN ( 633283 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @05:58PM (#29860089)

    Ok the guy is making money from this... However Vaccines have a rather poor profit returns (expensive to make and sold with low margins) It would seem like if he was really corrupt he would do something with higher margins.

    It's not hard to understand. If he did something "really corrupt" he would be fined or go to jail. If he does something marginally corrupt then morons will go around defending him saying he "isn't that corrupt" and then he'll get away with it. It's all about risk to reward ratios. Sure he won't make significant money but there is nearly no risk.

    Thanks for being an enabler.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @06:01PM (#29860115)

    The same people who say that women must have free access to abortion, because they have the right to say what they do with their bodies, are now saying that NYS health care workers don't have the right to say what they do with their bodies with regards to a vaccine?

    When a woman gets an abortion, only she and the fetus are affected.

    When a health worker, WHO WORKES A JOB WHERE THEY WILL COME IN CONTACT WITH INFECTED PEOPLE, refuses to get a shot to prevent the spread of an infection...that affects their own health and potentially tens of thousands of people. That worker needs to be able to come into contact with patients, help them, and not get sick themselves, and not pass the illness onto others.

    Furthermore, health workers are already required to get many vaccines. They knew that going into the job; when I worked at a hospital, we had to hand over medical records proving we'd been vaccinated (even though I didn't work with patients, if there is a public health emergency, they pull employees from other areas as needed. Even if it only to help push stretchers and take out the trash.) If you want the right to refuse a vaccine, DON'T WORK IN HEATHCARE.

    This is, just as the top poster says, anti-vaccine hysteria from people who think their gut beats experts, research, fact. We're the only developed country that has this problem...the rest of the world, hell, even the Catholic church has accepted Evolution, yet nutjobs came out of the woodwork and demanded it's false and constantly challenge its teaching. Then we had the anti-global-warming nutjobs. Now it's anti-vaccine nutjobs.

    What's next? Square Earth? We're the pivoting point of the universe? Why is it that it feels like only America has all the idiots who deny the obvious, proven, fact?

  • Re:BUSTED! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tacticus.v1 ( 1102137 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @08:21PM (#29860997)

    What's that comment about correlation and causation?

    a cheerleader who suffers from a severe neurological issue 10 days after a flu shot isn't that amazing

    One day we might even get real reporting with a real doctor actually discussing the issue

  • Re:BUSTED! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @08:39PM (#29861101)

    Considering they've already had over 1,000 people die [] of Swine Flu so far this year in the US alone, why would anyone really need to question this? There is no natural immunity to N1H1. It also affects young adults more than any other group (and need I say a very mobile crowd), with a much higher chance of spreading the disease in colleges, schools, and just in general.

  • by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @09:47PM (#29861395)

    "Mandatory vaccines in hospitals make a lot of sense. It is really common sense."

    Prove it.

    Are there any long term studies that show what affects there are on humans from repeated, yearly flu vaccinations? Just claiming it is "common sense" --without any data or facts to support your claim-- doesn't make it so. Don't confuse my query with other types of vaccines that have long established saftey record.

    "As a health worker, your first responsibility is to your patients, and getting the flu shot is part of that."

    I am a health care worker. I've been busting my ass on a New York City ambulance for the last 13 years. No, my "first responsibility" is *not* to my patients, it is to my partner and I. Since day one of _any_ training curriculum that I have ever completed the lesson has _always_ been "scene safety". Is it safe for my colleague and I to proceed and help? If not, do not proceed until it is safe to do so. In the extreme hypothetical situation where you died in the 3 seconds that it took to me to don a pair of latex gloves, can I be faulted? Absolutely not. So, is it safe for me to get these vaccines on a yearly mandatory basis? We just don't know.

    Shit, I can't believe what a stink people are making about this flu. There are a thousand other areas of infection control people should be worried about *before* the masses start getting hysterical about mandatory health care worker vaccinations. You would not believe how basic hygiene and cleanliness are sorely lacking in today's (I work in New York City) health care environment. Simple things, like wiping down the blood pressure cuff or the EKG leads between patients with hospital grade disinfectant wipes, are rarely done. Physicians who won't wash their hands between putting their bare hands on a patient's skin. Stretchers and gurneys that have obvious, gross dried blood on the railings because "housekeeping" only does a cursory wipe of the gurney mattress.

    This is not an epidemic or pandemic. The CDC nor the WHO have suggested nor required mandatory vaccinations. Nor has any other state of the union. You and I are one of many of millions of organisms that live, adapt, and co-exist with one another on this planet. No one has ever guaranteed you a long and prosperous life. You are born into this world and you takes your chances; viruses, fungus's, parasites, cancers, warts and all.

    You have every right to request a health care provider that meets your specific criteria, e.g., being a Harvard M.D. or having been vaccinated against swine flu, but you don't have the right to request that I be forced to inject something into my body that I am uncomfortable with.

  • Re:BUSTED! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @10:13PM (#29861549) Homepage

    What the hell. The article says this:

    A survey of GPs published on Healthcare Republic, the website of GP magazine, found that up to 60% of GPs may decline vaccination. Although the numbers who responded were small - 216 GPs

    That's a laughably tiny sample. Hell, for all we know, it's self-selected, which would almost certainly introduce bias. But then they says this:

    they are in line with a much bigger survey of nurses published a week ago by Nursing Times, which found that a third of 1,500 nurses would refuse vaccination.

    How the fuck is 60% "in line" with 30%?? But then you look closer, and you actually see this:

    Among the GPs who responded to the survey published by Healthcare Republic, 29% said they would not choose to have the vaccine and 29% said they were unsure whether or not they would.

    Ohhh... so now it's actually 30% (of 219 people) who said they wouldn't, and 30% who weren't sure. Great headline, assholes.

    Yeah, sorry bub, you're gonna have to do better than that.

  • by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @12:46AM (#29862297)

    When you start telling people that they must put something foreign into their bodies at what point exactly does it stop?

    Well, in this case, it stops right around the point where the state requires that health care workers receive the flu vaccine.

    There's a reason slippery slope is a logical fallacy, rather than a legitimate logical argument.

  • I'm a doctor. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 25, 2009 @01:38AM (#29862493)

    I appreciate the work you do but you're no where near qualified to give a definitive answer on the topic you're writing about.

    In order to try to get you to refuse vaccination, the anti-vaccination propagandists will often try to convince you that vaccines are unsafe. They will tell you that vaccines cause debilitating disease and sickness. However, such claims ignore the medical literature, which says something quite different. Before I tell you how we know that vaccines are safe, let me spend a moment discussing what "safe" means in terms of medical science.

    Would you consider taking a bath to be safe? Did you know that roughly 350 people die every year because of taking baths? If so many people die every year taking baths, why do we continue this "dangerous" practice? We continue it because it is significantly more dangerous to not take baths than to take baths. If you decide to stop taking baths due to the alarming statistic quoted above, you are opening yourself up to all kinds of diseases. Thus, even though it is possible for you to die taking a bath, the benefits of taking that bath far outweigh the risks. As a result, we continue to take baths, despite the fact that some people die from it every year.

    That’s exactly the kind of reasoning used to determine what is medically safe. Virtually every medicine and activity comes with risks. Even vitamins can cause liver damage, bleeding problems, heart injury, and bone problems, especially when taken in high doses. Thus, no matter what you do, you take risks. The question when evaluating any medical procedure is simply this: Do you risk more by refusing the medical procedure than by accepting the procedure? In the case of vaccinations, the medical research is quite clear. You are significantly more at risk if you refuse the standard vaccinations than if you get them.

    How can I state this so definitively? All you have to do is look at the data that has been collected on this point, and it is quite clear. First, we know that over the past several years, the vaccination rate has increased in the United States. During this same time period, children in the United States have become significantly more healthy.

    Note from the graph on the left that as the vaccination rate went up, the general health of children also increased. Note even further that when the vaccination rate declined slightly from 1998- 2000, the general health of children declined slightly as well. Now look at the graph on the right. As the vaccination rate increased, the infant mortality rate, child mortality rate, and preadolescent mortality rate decreased. Note further that the most significant reductions in mortality rates occurred when the vaccination rate was increasing the fastest, and that as the vaccination rate dropped from 1998-2000, the decline in mortality rates leveled off substantially.

    Now do these graphs prove that vaccines are safe? Of course not. There are many factors that contribute to health and mortality, and there is no way from this study to conclude whether the increase in vaccination rates actually caused the increase in children’s health and the decrease in mortality rates. However, this graph presents a huge problem to anyone who wants to claim that vaccines are dangerous. If vaccines are so dangerous, why are children becoming healthier while the vaccination rate is increasing?

    Of course, the only way to make a strong scientific conclusion when it comes to medicine is to do controlled studies. Many such studies have been done, and the conclusions are that vaccinated children are healthier than non-vaccinated children. For example, one study looked at 496 vaccinated and unvaccinated children, comparing the health of the vaccinated children to that of the unvaccinated children. It found that children who received immunizations against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Hib, and polio within the first 3 months of life had fewer infections than those who did not. Surprisingly enough, even the rates of infections unrelated to the v

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:30AM (#29862671) Homepage Journal

    Considering that all the scary stories (anecdotes) you cite are a minority of cases, it's entirely consistent with my report that most cases are mild.

    The reports I have seen indicate "suspected" swine flu, etc, never "confirmed by PCR" swine flu. Not surprising since the CDC has asked that tests NOT []be done. A quote from that article:

    With most cases diagnosed solely on symptoms and risk factors, the H1N1 flu epidemic may seem worse than it is.

    I will happily forgo my shot so someone in the high risk group can have it.

    About the CDC stats, a fair portion are self fulfilling. Hospital visits for flue-like symptoms. Not admissions, visits. Meaning someone is achy and feverish and would normally tough it out (and be fine) but because of 6 months of OMG SWINE FLU WILL KILL YOU!!!!! on the news, they visit the ER. As for the rest of their stats, combining influenza and pneumonia deaths together is suspect at best.

    I have no doubt the swine flu and indeed the regular old flu can be fatal. I also have no doubt that the swine flue and regular flu tend to be fatal to different groups of people. I do NOT believe it's time to panic. Certainly this is shaping up to be nothing like the spanish flu.

    There are many other things (such as auto accidents) that will kill many more people this (and every) year. Given the choice between flu shot or drive less, choose drive less. If we spent as much time, energy, money, and media attention on telecommuting initiatives we'd save more lives.

  • by Monsuco ( 998964 ) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:13AM (#29862965) Homepage

    When have unions ever worked against the interests of their members?

    When there is money involved for union leaders.

  • by PybusJ ( 30549 ) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @07:11AM (#29863445)

    This is not an epidemic or pandemic.

    OK, I was with you until that point. An epidemic and pandemic is exactly what this is. What some (particularly the media) are having trouble with is the concept that pandemic is about infection spread and doesn't necessarily equate to "it will kill us all".

  • by schnikies79 ( 788746 ) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @07:52PM (#29867891)

    It has nothing to do with socialism. The Teamsters were greedy liars and cheats. They wanted nothing more than power and money for the higher-ups in the organization and didn't give a rats ass about the members.

Trap full -- please empty.