Mandatory Flu Vaccine Policy for Healthcare Workers
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that when a friend started chatting about work related mandatory flu vaccines that I became infuriated.
“Mandatory” should dictate Lock-Out/Tag-Out procedures not what people put into their bodies. But small minded people continue to seek control over the populous.
Anyway I have been granted permission by the author of this paper to post it on my website.
There are 2 posts, the second one is even better than the first so don’t forget to look for it!
My name is Amanda and I…am a Non Flu-Vaccinator.
My choice is based on personal experience, observation, virus behavior fascination and finally, research regarding flu vaccination and a mandatory policy for healthcare workers.
Personal Experience: I have worked in various healthcare environments for approximately 10 years and within those years I have agreed to receive the flu vaccination only once – it was the worst choice ever. I felt awful for weeks. Before that point and from then on, during flu shot season, when everyone else was getting their vaccination and asking me if I had gotten mine yet, I usually just said “No, not yet” and changed the subject.
Observation: I’ve always found it ironic to work in an environment where we are trained to be the gatekeepers of health information, where we learn to be sensitive to which diseases our patients have and how they choose to treat it. We are expected to be extra sensitive to our co-workers’ information. I have even been verbally chastised for saying of a co-worker to a co-worker “she is out sick today.” The fear was that I wasn’t being vague or private enough. We are encouraged to keep what we know of any health related information a secret from as many people as possible. Flu vaccination then, is clearly the rogue of HIPAA Privacy. Why is it that the ways in which we treat our illness is highly confidential but the ways in which we treat our wellness is suddenly everyone’s business? Curious. Honestly, every year, depending on the media, I did consider giving it another try. Yet with every year, my colleagues who had received the shot (which I knew because it was never private) were down for the count while I was still feeling fine. I was then, yet again, grateful that I hadn’t. I felt good about my choice and evermore fascinated by the science of viruses.
Virus Behavior Fascination: My fascination was sparked soon after high school while reading Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, The Poisonwood Bible. One of the characters in the book devotes her life to the study of viruses. It was the way she talked about viruses that made me really think about pathologies as living organisms with a tenacious intention to survive and the skills to adapt in order to thrive. They are true opportunists and they even have this incredible ability to get into position, like a hunter, and remain at rest (sometimes for years) until just the right moment to strike.
I learned to respect viruses with even more fear and awe when I worked at a Center for HIV/AIDS patients. The Center had a House which served as an AIDs hospice. I worked in the Center’s Residential House but, during the years of my employment there, it was facing a new transformational challenge. That clever, hearty little HIV virus, which rapidly ravages people’s bodies, had finally came into direct combat with new pharmaceutical cocktails. The miracle of medicine transformed the HIV diagnosis from a death sentence into a chronic disease diagnoses, a monumentally challenging chronic disease but, nonetheless, this was a huge shift. Clients were living beyond the expectations of a hospice, several years beyond. As a result, staff needed to help the clients learn the appropriate skills for chronic disease management rather than to prepare them for and assist in the process of dying.
One HIV virus behavior that really caught my attention and is a major challenge for the clients’ life skills management is the virus’ ability for adaptations after missed doses. Missed doses can allow the virus ample time to adapt within the body. This causes the antiviral cocktail to become ineffective and a new anti-viral cocktail regiment must be initiated. I remember the constant battle between managing the effects of the virus with the side effects of the treatment while maintaining a constant awareness that the virus itself is perfectly capable of out-smarting the medicine. With this information, as well as my own personal flu vaccination experience and my quiet observation of seasonal flu, or flu-like symptoms, within my vaccinated friends and colleagues, I continued to decline. I have always wondered if I was observing a familiar virus behavior. Perhaps the vaccination cocktail and the flu-like illnesses that seemed to target my friends and co-workers was a result of virus intelligence. As with missed doses becoming an opportunity for the HIV virus to adapt, so also, I wondered, might an influenza virus become familiar with and adapt to the vaccination. Perhaps, I’ve mused, the vaccination could be a viral pheromone of sorts, attracting at least one of the hundreds of strains circulating each year, an invitation that this immune system will not be paying attention, allowing it to remain latent in the already exposed immune system until conditions become perfect for it to adapt and then to thrive. It seems the shingles virus behaves in this way within a body whose immune system has been exposed to chicken pox. I recently read an explanation from a neuroscientist, Dr. Baylock, who explains that the ingredients within the vaccine are such an immune depressant that though people are not getting the flu from the vaccine, they are catching the flu as a result of their depressed immunity. He further suggests that the vaccine is actually not at all effective. A Johns Hopkins scientist, Dr. Doshi, echoes and adds to these concerns. (13)
At any rate, I continued to decline the flu vaccine, felt comfortable with my risks, my health, my immune system’s ability to fight the flu and, most importantly, with my decision.
This year, for the first time, I faced a situation in which the decision was no longer my own. I have been “out-ed.” I really struggled with this. My first impression was that I had no choice at all – vaccinate or else I have no place in healthcare and I will need to seek employment elsewhere. Then I dug deeper and realized that we did have something of a choice – vaccinate or wear a mask at all times for the entire flu season. Since the mask would be embarrassing and I have bills to pay, I began to resign myself to the fact that I would vaccinate.
But wait a minute! Am I, at this point, really about to make a decision regarding my health based on fear of embarrassment?! Yes….I almost am – so I gave it a little more thought and research.
To be continued ……. All The Ways The Flu Shot Is Going To Kill You! [Part 2]