FLU Shots Everyone?
It's flu season! How do you know? Well, the signs and ads are going up at pharmacies, drugstores, and other retail outlets: Come here for the flu shot, $25-30 bucks is the price range I am seeing or its "free" with certain insurances. So indeed it must be Flu season!
Whether or not you supply it at your practice, I'm sure you advise your patients to get their annual flu shot? Right? Sure, vaccine preventable disease is a good thing!
The problem is that WE don't get OUR flu shots, and I am talking about all HCW - doctors, nurses, staff, pharmacists, and other people in our business!
Past estimates are the average rate of flu shots among the workforce in American hospitals varies from about 80% in physicians down to 60% in nurses (all nurses grouped here). Where do NP's rank then? We are not sure! But hoping our smaller nurse subgroup is 100%! In nursing homes or ACLFs, rates 30% or lower are common.
Who is likely to get harmed by the flu? Definately not the healthy 20 year-old. They may get sick and be miserable and lose time from school or work, but they recover.
So who is at great risk here? Of course the elderly, babies, and people who are immune-comprised due to HIV or transplants. Highest risk is in nursing homes, hospitals, and healthcare facilities.
Ethically, our first obligation is to do no harm. If you are there to do no harm and that is your primary obligation, then you cannot put your personal choice or your personal reluctance to get that shot above doing harm. So will you get the shot this season? All Comments Welcomed!