Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Mandatory Flu Shots for EMS? First do no harm?

Greg Friese asks Influenza Vaccination: Is it Our Duty?

He has a poll, but before you take the poll, listen to the following podcast by an infectious disease doctor.

The ERCast – Dr. Rob Orman interviewing Dr. Mark Crislip about vaccination for influenza –
 
Mark Crislip on Vaccines and Why You Should Get a Flu Shot
 

Dr. Crislip points out the flaws in the excusesc of the people who do not want to get the flu shot. Here is the first of 12. Go read the rest.
 

1. The vaccine gives me the flu. Dumb Ass.

It is a killed vaccine. It cannot give you the influenza. It is impossible to get flu from the influenza vaccine.

Did Mary Mallon have a duty to avoid cooking for others?

She didn’t feel sick, so she didn’t think that she could make anyone else sick.

One of the places where she worked as a cook was a hospital.

By simply cooking food for people, she passed typhoid to dozens of people and two of those people died of typhoid.

She felt fine. She did not think that there was any reason for her to change her behavior because of some doctors.

Mary Mallon refused to see any connection between her work and the transmission of illness.

 

Part of the New York American article of June 20, 1909, which first identified Mary Mallon as “Typhoid Mary.” Photo Credit: New York County Clerk Archives
 

Many health care workers claim not to see any connection between working with patients during our asymptomatic, but highly infectious prodromal period of influenza infection; that delay between the start of our ability to infect others with influenza and the start of influenza symptoms; and development of fatal influenza complications by the already sick patients we care for.

Why is it too much to ask us to get a flu shot?

Like Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary), some of us think that we will not make others sick if we do not feel sick.

Unlike Mary Mallon, we have some medical education.

When Mary Mallon started giving fake names in order to get work as a cook, she could no longer claim that she did not know she was dangerous.

What’s our excuse?

[youtube]-vQOM91C7us[/youtube]
 
Immunize by ZDoggMD

CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Death certificate data and weekly influenza virus surveillance information was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death was listed as respiratory or circulatory disease on their death certificate.[1]

We do need better evidence of the amount of transmission of influenza by medical personnel to our patients, but it is not reasonable to assume that it does not happen.

My freedom ends when I begin to harm others. When I harm others by avoiding a shot (or nasal spray) that is a minor inconvenience, I am not exercising any kind of due regard for my patients.

We work with some of the sickest patients – the ones going to the emergency department, often from nursing homes.

These patients are not just vulnerable to the influenza complications that have killed 3,000 to 49,000 people a year over the past 31 years, but they may be too sick to be vaccinated. They depend on others to be vaccinated to protect them. These are our parents and grandparents. they may be veterans who served our country or people who never fought in any war, but they depend on us to protect them.

If you haven’t already, go listen to the ER Cast – Dr. Rob Orman interviewing Dr. Mark Crislip about vaccination for influenza –
 

Mark Crislip on Vaccines and Why You Should Get a Flu Shot
 

Updated 00:15 10/04/2012 – Thank you to Dr. Brooks Walsh of Mill Hill Ave Command and Doc Cottle’s Desk for the correct link for the podcast.

Footnotes:

[1] How many people die from seasonal flu each year in the United States?
Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States: CDC Study Confirms Variability of Flu
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Web page

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Comments

  1. If I had had Crislip as an instructor in med school, I’d be in infectious disease instead of the smelly ol’ ED!

    Sample quote:

    “I wonder if you are one of those Dumb Asses who do not get the flu shot each year? Yes. Dumb Ass. Big D, big A. You may be allergic to the vaccine, you may have had Guillain Barre, in which case I will cut you some slack. But if you don’t have those conditions and you work in health care and you don’t get a vaccine for one of the following reasons, you are a dumb ass.”

    Maybe this link works?
    http://blog.ercast.org/2011/12/vaccines-and-why-you-should-get-a-flu-shot/

    • Brooks Walsh,

      If I had had Crislip as an instructor in med school, I’d be in infectious disease instead of the smelly ol’ ED!

      Sample quote:

      “I wonder if you are one of those Dumb Asses who do not get the flu shot each year? Yes. Dumb Ass. Big D, big A. You may be allergic to the vaccine, you may have had Guillain Barre, in which case I will cut you some slack. But if you don’t have those conditions and you work in health care and you don’t get a vaccine for one of the following reasons, you are a dumb ass.”

      Completely understandable.

      Maybe this link works?
      http://blog.ercast.org/2011/12/vaccines-and-why-you-should-get-a-flu-shot/

      Yes, it does.

      I have updated the post and added a very brief sample of Dr. Crislip’s writing.

      Thank you.

      .

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