Tis’ the season, flu season that is! If you haven’t had your flu vaccine yet, why not? Healthcare workers are the most frequently exposed to the influenza virus, but many workers think they do not need the vaccine. This article will describe the reasons healthcare workers decline the vaccine and why.
Flu Shot Data
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the influenza vaccine is helpful in decreasing school or work days missed throughout the flu season.
The question remains though – why aren’t nurses getting their flu shot? A few reasons include:
- Availability – A 2014 study conducted by AHC Media found that only 27 percent of nurses report their employer offered on-site vaccines, but patients were allowed to get it. Also, the vaccine may have been available, but only during regular business hours, missing 50 percent of the healthcare workers on off shifts.
- Past Experience – Nurses and other healthcare workers have had adverse reactions or negative experiences in the past after receiving a flu vaccine. Most say that they do not believe it is effective or they didn’t feel well after receiving it.
- Religious or Personal Beliefs – Some religions believe that injecting oneself with a foreign substance is against their beliefs, so some refuse any vaccines, even the flu.
- Allergy to Eggs – If someone has an allergy to eggs, they cannot receive a standard flu shot.
Address Flu Shot Concerns
Getting the Flu and Allergies
Educating patients and healthcare providers may help increase the vaccination rates. For example, those who feel like they “get the flu” after receiving a vaccine say they were told they are receiving the flu virus in the vaccine. The truth is that the flu virus is not transmitted with the vaccine.
For those allergic to eggs, an egg-free vaccine is available and for those who do not like shots, there is also a jet injector available.
Mandation of Vaccine
Hospitals and healthcare clinics throughout the nation are requiring their employees to get vaccinated. Mandatory vaccination is becoming more prevalent because healthcare workers pose a risk to patients, who are already compromised with illness, leading to longer hospitalization or even death.
The mandatory rule makes many healthcare employees upset and skeptical; therefore, some organizations have changed it to an incentive program if staff receives the vaccine. Organizations have to offer the vaccine during all hours of operation.
Nursing school and medical practice teach nurses and physicians to rely on evidence-based medicine. If the evidence shows that vaccines help stop the spread of influenza and decrease death rates to patients, nurses should vaccinate themselves unless they cannot medically receive the vaccine.
Nurses should encourage patients to receive the vaccine as well. If you haven’t received your flu shot yet this year, the data shows, it’s a good idea to get it.
Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB is a freelance writer and owner of WriteRN.net.