On-the-Job Flu Vaccine Protection

Our daughter Megan has a delightful job as a volunteer at one of our local hospitals. A few hours a month she and I together take a food cart around to the surgical waiting room and into patients’ rooms and offer complimentary drinks and snacks. We also meet the families of newborn babies and take complimentary photos of the babies. It is a wonderful job and Megan and I feel very fortunate and privileged to have this job.

This past Thursday the volunteer supervisor asked us, “Have you had your flu shot?” Although most states do not require healthcare workers to get the flu vaccine, a growing number of hospitals and health care facilities are mandating it as a requirement for employment with the stance that the flu vaccine is the best way to protect immunocompromised patients from getting the flu.

However, according to this article in Health Impact News, a meta-analysis study published by the CDC reveals that flu vaccinations among healthcare workers offer no evidence of protection to the patients under their care.

There are an estimated 200 viruses that have “influenza-like” symptoms, and the vaccine only protects against 3-4 strains of the flu. According to this article by the National Vaccine Information Center, The CDC is admitting that flu shots don’t prevent influenza most of the time. In fact, studies show that a history of seasonal flu shots can even make people more susceptible to getting sick with a fever, headache, body aches and a terrible cough that hangs on for weeks. A lot of people also get and transmit influenza infections without showing any symptoms at all.

A properly conducted (randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind) study of the influenza vaccine has been completed and the results published. Check out this link.

To summarize the article, in this study 115 children were randomized to receive Vaxigrip Vaccines, or placebos, administered in Nov and Dec, and the subjects were then followed for 9 months and monitored for illnesses. Laboratory analysis determined the type of virus present, in case of illness. The results were not good for the vaccine. The rate of influenza infection was almost exactly the same on both groups (4.3% vax vs 6.5% unvax). Most significant of all, 29% (20) of those receiving the vaccine got a non-influenza illness, compared to 6.5% (3) of the unvaccinated.

The most common non-influenza illnesses were due to rhinovirus and coxsackie virus. These viruses are generally mild, but can cause serious harm in susceptible people. Also, other respiratory viruses were reported.

“Vaccine recipients may lack temporary non-specific immunity that protected against other respiratory viruses.”

Also, many flu shots still contain thimerosal, a form of mercury used as a preservative, which is a known neurotoxin.

Inflammation caused by immunizations poses a special risk to pregnant women. If flu shots were mandated for all healthcare workers this would place these babies at risk.

Well, you’ve probably guessed by now, Megan and I are not getting the flu shot. I have never gotten a flu shot. I took Megan to get a flu shot about 10 years ago thinking it was a smart choice – before I did any serious research. She has not had another flu shot since.

Back to our local hospital … “If you choose not to get a flu shot then you must sign this waiver saying so. Plus, you must wear a face mask in the hospital.” Okay!

The face mask is not exactly the sexiest nor the most glamorous face accessory, but we do love our job and we will comply:

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I was telling my sister Lisa about it. She said, “Why don’t you customize the face masks to make them more interesting?”

Hmmm. She was on to something….

Even a sticker added interest…

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Let’s go scary-creepy for Halloween! A spider will do…

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Or how about Hannibal Lecter-ish … The Silence of the Lambs…

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Okay that’s too creepy. “Volunteer wearing customized face mask causes patient heart-attack.”

Let’s go with bunny-face

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Rudolph:

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I know! How about dog face?

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Awwww, cute.

A mustache is in order:

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Add a goatee:

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With Megan in a beard and me in a mustache, we could enter patients’ rooms as Cheech and Chong.

Okay, just trying to make light of the situation. Not trying to get us fired. Which, BTW, health care workers are being fired for their personal choice not to get the flu shot. In early 2012 a hospital in Indiana fired eight workers, including three popular veteran nurses, because they declined to be vaccinated. Over a two-month span at the start of the following winter, at least 15 more hospital workers in four states were let go for the same reason.

We are grateful that we can keep the wonderful volunteer job. Masks it is!

We just won’t get the flu shot. Not this year, not ever. I think we’ll do fine.

If you want, you can check with me again on this, say, in ten years? I’ll fall into the ‘randomized, placebo-controlled group’, in case you’re gathering statistics.

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