Influenza Vaccines

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The flu is one of the most commonly spread infectious diseases in the United States. Each year, between 5% and 20% of Americans will become infected with the influenza virus ("Seasonal Flu Q&A"). For the majority of those people, the symptoms associated with the flu-- fever, chills, dehydration, body aches, and vomiting-- are non life-threatening and typically only last for a couple of days. However, for people who become infected with the flu virus while being hospitalized for a different reason, the rates of serious flu-related complications are much higher. The most effective way to prevent the spread of the influenza virus is by receiving a yearly flu shot, but disappointingly, most hospitals in the United States do not require employees…show more content…
As a result, many hospitals fail to achieve a vaccination rate high enough to prevent the spread of the influenza virus. A recent article states that "only 42% of [health care workers] received the seasonal influenza vaccination during the 2005-06 influenza season" (Maroyka and Andrawis). Lower vaccination rates undoubtedly result in higher numbers of hospital-acquired influenza. In order for a hospital to reach an optimal rate of vaccination, yearly mandatory influenza vaccinations must be required, and the consequences for refusing the vaccine must be severe enough to motivate health care workers to receive…show more content…
Patients who contract the influenza virus while in the hospital have a shockingly high risk of death as a result of flu complications. A recent article from Henry H. Bernstein and Jeffrey R. Starke lists the average mortality rate of all patients with hospital-acquired influenza as 16%, but notes that patients with higher risk factors, such as people who 've recently undergone transplants, have a mortality rate of between 33% and 60%. Though the flu is typically non-life threatening for the general population, the same can not be said for hospital patients who have compounding health issues. Because of the increased risk of death for hospital patients, it would be in a hospital 's best interest to require mandatory influenza vaccinations for its staff to prevent as much transmission of the virus as
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