The issue of vaccination

A few months ago I went to a patient. I am a Physiotherapist and I work in a care centre. The patient I visited was an elderly but cognitive adequate patient. It was in January 2017 when the flu was at the peak. I am not vaccinated because I think there are a lot of side effects and a security of 100%, that I will not get infected, is never given. That is why I had to wear a protective mask. When I suddenly entered the patient’s room the lady asked: “Oh, I see you are wearing a protective mask. I suppose you are not vaccinated? Do you not care about us elderly patients?” There were a lot of other suspicious questions about my protective mask. I can almost breath with it during therapy and a lot of patients, who are often hard of hearing, cannot understand my instructions. So I am really thinking about a vaccination the next flu season. What do you think? Do you know these problems?

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One Reply to “The issue of vaccination”

  1. Hi there,

    This is quite an interesting topic you have here and something that interests me a lot.

    I am someone who lives by the flu vaccine. Every year when the vaccine is made available for patients, I am usually one of the first people in the line to get it. This is not only because I am a health practitioner and work with people the whole day, but also because I have seen what the flu can result in if one does not get vaccinated (a close relative of mine contracted a deadly flu virus and was hospitalized for more than a month with severe illness).

    Influenza vaccines protect us against influenza. A new version of the vaccine is developed twice a year as the influenza virus rapidly changes; therefore it is necessary to get vaccinated ever so often. While their effectiveness varies from year to year, most provide modest to high protection against influenza (WHO, 2012).

    With regards to risks, I completely agree with you; a few risks have been associated with this vaccine which can be fatal; these include fever, a runny nose, and in rare cases Guillian Barre Syndrome. I however feel that the benefits of this vaccine greatly outweigh its harmful possibilities (WHO, 2012)(Jefferson, 2006).

    The World Health organisation has also recommended that all health care workers receive this shot to prevent contracting or spreading this disease (WHO, 2016).

    From an ethical point of view I would say that it is important to get vaccinated ever so often to lower the risk of getting infected with the influenza virus. I feel that we as health care workers must be an example to our patients and protect them from life threatening illnesses instead of spreading it to them.

    On the other hand; I am completely against the stigma of face masks. I feel that a face mask is an effective protective measure employed by anyone to try and prevent the spread of disease or contraction of life threatening diseases. I feel that anyone even considering the use of a face mask is doing good and thinking about the people around them. Therefore I encourage the use of facemasks, and feel that even though you did not get the flu vaccination, you are still being considerate towards your patients.
    I hope this helps!

    Kindest regards,
    Lania

    References
    Jefferson, T. (2006). Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence. BMJ, 333, 912 – 915.
    WHO. (2012). Vaccines against influenza. Weekly epidemiological record, 87(47), 461 – 476.
    WHO. (2016, November). Influenza (seasonal). Retrieved from World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/

    Like

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