The Influenza Vaccination Debate

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Mandatory Influenza Vaccinations for healthcare providers can be a controversial topic for some and may propose a challenge to some provider’s ethical values and beliefs. The topic of mandatory vaccination for influenza (“flu”) has been widely studied and debated among professionals over several years. It is apparent that there is some movement towards a mandatory vaccination for influenza by healthcare institutions as the benefit out weighs the risk on several fronts. “Influenza infection is associated with 36,000 excess deaths and > 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually. It is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in the United States every year” (Babcock, Geminhart, Jones, Dunagan, & Woeltje, 2010, p. 459). However, influenza vaccinations among healthcare workers remain low despite large numbers of patients being infected with influenza each year. “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines have called for healthcare workers (HCWs) to receive influenza vaccination since 1981, but influenza vaccination rates among HCWs in the United States remain low (40%)” (Poland, Ofstead, Tucker & Beebe, 2008, p. 170). One looks to review the proposed policy, stakeholders and to justify why it is appropriate to require nurses and other healthcare providers to be vaccinated annually to prevent spread of influenza, alternatives to mandatory vaccination and propose a policy recommendation.
It is justifiable to think that requiring healthcare providers to have annual vaccinations are appropriate because it provides a multitude of benefits to patients, institutions and to the staff who are vaccinated. As a rise of non-reimbursement by Medicare and Medicaid for nosocomial acquired infectio...

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