Public Health

Get Your Flu Shots, Health Pros

We've heard plenty of civilians questioning whether to get vaccinated against swine flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the answer is pretty much, "Yes, you should." For those on the fence, new data show otherwise healthy people account for almost half the cases of swine flu that land people in the hospital.

One of these syringes has your name on it. i i

hide captionOne of these vaccine syringes has your name on it.

Scott Olson/Getty Images
One of these syringes has your name on it.

One of these vaccine syringes has your name on it.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

So it's all the more mystifying to learn that large numbers of health workers—who have a high risk of catching the new H1N1 virus and passing it on to the vulnerable—are balking. These health pros are precisely the people who should know the score on vaccines, right?

Evidently not. After 40 years of talk, New York health authorities are now making vaccination against seasonal and swine flu mandatory for health workers, NPR's Richard Knox reports. Decades of a soft-selling never got even 40 percent of workers in New York to get flu shots.

It's about time for such tough measures, say some. "Enough already with the whining, moaning, demonstrating and protesting by health care workers," bioethicist Art Caplan wrote recently on MSNBC.com. Any health worker "who has regular contact with patients ought to be required to get a flu shot or find another line of work."

In an NPR commentary, family doc and former Assistant Surgeon General Douglas Kamerow, demolishes the fallacies in the thinking of people who don't want to get the shot (or nasal spray) against H1N1.

What's the bottom line? "The pandemic flu vaccine is safe, effective, cheap (or free), and necessary," Kamerow says. "Unless you're allergic to eggs, when it becomes available in your area, make sure you get it, and make especially sure your kids do."

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