Inside Opinion

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Tag: flu vaccine


Vaccinating hospital staffs should be non-negotiable

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Of all people in the world, those who work in hospitals and medical clinics – physicians, nurses, cafeteria workers, etc. – ought to be vaccinated against influenza.

It shouldn’t even be controversial. Many patients are fragile and highly susceptible to the flu. They can’t rely on “herd immunity,” which can protect unvaccinated members in a group that is mostly immunized. All it takes is one infected nurse or aide to spread the potentially deadly flu virus to the severely ill.

Shockingly, though, roughly half the country’s hospital workers aren’t getting flu shots. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated that only 62 percent of health care professionals – a category that includes doctors and registered nurses – got the vaccine in the 2009-2010 flu season.

Washington does quite a bit better than that. The Washington State Hospital Association recently announced that nearly all of the state’s hospitals now require that their employees either get flu shots or take other protective measures.
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Swine flu: Nice shot, if you can get it

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

“We do have a vaccine that works.”
– Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Federal health officials said this week that the swine flu vaccine boosts patients’ immunity faster than expected – which came as good news to all 12 Americans who have been able to secure a dose.

The vaccine – especially the injectable type sought after by some of the most at-risk populations – is proving more elusive this fall than Michael Jackson and Kate Gosselin costumes.

The federal government assured the country last summer that vaccine companies could produce 80 million to 120 million doses by mid-October. Only 22 million are available so far.

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