I'm in a situation at work I'd like some group discussion on, if you don't mind...
In my professional life I go around to different rehab facilities, as an occupational therapist, and one of them told me recently the flu shot is 'mandatory' there. I said, 'hunh?', and it was explained that the building admistrator-- not a MD, not a LPN, not any type of medical person; this is just some dude with a business degree-- has decided everyone who works there has to get a flu shot. I thought it over a bit & said 'um, no,' b/c the hell I WILL have a random administrative dude dictate what I will or won't have injected into my body. They have no other OT there, btw, and I have plenty of work at other places, so I'm not worried about losing the facility (although sadly it IS my current favorite, except for this issue). The travelling PT that was going there, I found out later, took the same view as me/ won't go along with the 'mandate' and is happy to just work elsewhere; the full time therapy staff there DO have a problem with the policy, but went along with the coercion because it's a tiny town and employment options are limited, and they don't wanna quit and go looking for other employment.
I have never had a flu shot, and have not had the flu in 5-10 years. Here's my thinking:
1) it's not terribly effective, as a vaccine, because flu strains mutate way more quickly than a vaccine can possibly be produced and circulated. Efficacy ratings I've seen have been around 55-60%. If it's just about the same as plain old chance, even if the side effects are small/ adverse reactions rare, it isn't worth it to me (as a healthy non-immune-compromised 40-year-old who gets the flu about once per decade).
2) anything that gets shot into my body is no one's decision but mine, with possible exceptions if I'm clinically psychotic (not just anecdotally psychotic! haha), in a coma, &/or infected with a pathogen so devastating it could wipe out huge masses of people (say, ebola)... I may or may not, at some point, get a flu shot-- I'm open to discussion about it, with medical professionals, based on research and reason vs pharmarketing efforts of pfizer et al-- but in the end it's mine to decide; the end!
3) flu shots contain mercury, formaldehyde, egg proteins, gelatin, and pig-derived ingredients. Um, no thank you!! I will PASS on that, unless someone can give me a better reason than I've seen so far (ie 55-60% protection from a transitory illness that I rarely get anyway, and am not at risk of complications from).
4) I already don't go to work when I'm sick at all, because I work with a fragile population (who are all vaccinated for flu, btw) and because (being seldom ill) I'm a wussy about leaving the house (er, bed!) on those rare occasions when I do feel puny. Also, as a PRN employee, I already don't get paid for days off, so it's not costing them anything if I don't come in; a patient might get less OT that day, but more later in the week or more time in PT to balance it out... but if I get the flu I stay home and no one pays for it but me.
5) my body and I have an arrangement: I eat well, exercise, try to get enough sleep, and actively manage stress through natural means; and in trade, she works well and doesn't get sick. This is working really great; and if it ain't broke...! The flu injection just seems like an unnecessary intervention-- and I think unnecessary medical interventions should be avoided, on general principle.
SO: do you guys do the flu shot? what do you think about mandatory vaccines, for health care workers or others? Is there info I haven't thought about, that's relevant here? I'm very sure that I will NOT be getting one just because I'm told to do so (duh!); but I'm open to arguments on either side, re whether flu shots are a good idea or not... do you think I'm wrong in deciding not to get one? if so, why?
Thanks for all input! :)
fb, it's not mandatory. People can refuse the flu shot where I work. Many do for a variety of reasons.
I am a health care professional and no way would I ever have a flu vaccination, I had swine flu 6 months ago and got through that ok, thanks to my healthy immune system which is thanks to my lifestyle choices, hell I was sick but not as sick as my flesh eating counterparts and I have smoked for 41 years and smoked through the flu as well haha. Flu jabs left my mum with bronchial asthma :-\
Wonder if you passed the swine flu on to anyone and if they faired as well as you. I guess that's my issue for me personally and I'm not shoving my opinion down anyone's throat. I know I can survive the flu just fine, and the couple of times I've had it's lasted a day or two without drama. However, I never can know if someone caught it from me and how they fared or if unlike the OP I can be assured my patient population is vaccinated.