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County Mandates Flu Shot for Health Workers

All health workers in Contra Costa County will be required to get a flu shot this season or wear a protective mask while working.

By Bay City News Service:

Health care workers in Contra Costa County will have to "practice
what we preach" beginning this flu season, county health officials said
Monday.

Dr. William Walker, health officer for Contra Costa County, has
mandated that all health care workers in the county receive the annual flu
vaccination or wear a mask while working.

"As health care providers, we need to practice what we preach,"
Walker said in a release. "We always urge the public to get their flu shots
every year and for good reason. If doctors and nurses aren't bothering to get
immunized, we're not only sending a contradictory message to the public,
we're endangering our patients."

Walker continued to say that patient safety was at stake and the
vaccination rates of health care workers were too low.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the
employee vaccination rates in Contra Costa County range between 44 to 72
percent in 2010-11.

The flu is contagious up to one day prior to symptoms appearing
and can be especially dangerous to young children, the elderly, pregnant
women, and those with chronic conditions, according to Walker.

The requirement will go into effect during the coming flu season
from Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 and will continue in future flu seasons, officials
said.

Contra Costa County's announcement of this follows similar
mandates in several counties in California, including San Francisco, Santa
Clara, and Sacramento counties.

Ian Lipnicky (still a SportsFan) September 11, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Big government. Proud and strong.
jimbo September 11, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Out of curiosity, what is "big government" about preventing the spread of nosocomial infections? I suppose your definition of "big government" spreads to the regulations of the FAA mandating airline inspections, or CDC investigations of outbreaks. But I guess government is always the problem? How many elderly or infants would it take to die of a preventable infection before you'd change your mind?
Ian Lipnicky (still a SportsFan) September 11, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Requiring people to obtain a vaccination is big government. Pure & simple. Just because you agree with the outcome doesn't mean it's not big government.
jimbo September 11, 2012 at 11:49 PM
You have no concept of infectious disease. Educate yourself about the concept of herd immunity and the flu vaccine. All you can do is run around and spout off about big government, socialism, Obama, blablabla. It's pathetic. Try to use some ideas instead of the usual empty- headed buzzwords.
Ian Lipnicky (still a SportsFan) September 12, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Forcing people to be vaccinated is not the solution.
Redrock September 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM
@Jimbo.. If God wants us to get sick it is his will... government mandated shots and vaccines are an intrusion upon the freedoms I hold dear and what our founding fathers sacrificed their lives for. There is no room in the kingdom of god for government oppression! Under a Romney administration we will get this straightened out soon enough. LIBS and DEMS- line up like a good socialist while you can and get your shot, while we Republicans dance under the sunshine of our lord and savior! And what a mighty and true DEE-JAY he is… dare I say, he can get jiggy with it!
Chris Kapsalis September 12, 2012 at 12:35 AM
I decide what goes in my body. Not the government. This is creepy to me. Yes I get a flu shot. My choice. There are some risks. Also they have to make an educated guess on the strain. Protect your own self. Wash your hands. But forcing a shot on people is absolutely wrong imo.
jimbo September 12, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Just as I thought. Nothing there. And your brilliant solution is...
Ian Lipnicky (still a SportsFan) September 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Unless you are compromised in some other way (due to age or other health conditions) the flu is usually not a killer. Good personal hygiene and people acting responsibly (staying home when they're sick) are all excellent measures at preventing the spread of the flu. A voluntary flu vaccination policy is also wise. A mandatory flu vaccination policy is not beneficial to anyone.
Bryn Thenell September 12, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Health care workers have an obligation to protect their patients, some of whom could become seriously ill or even die from an infection on top of what ever illness they currently suffer. Common sense says this includes reducing the risk of infection from all sources. If they don't want to get vaccinated they should not work with patients. When I worked as an R.N. I never thought twice about getting vaccinated for flu or hepatitis. I was grateful that the cost was covered by my employer and happy to reduce the risk of infection for myself, my patiens, co-workers, family and community.
jimbo September 12, 2012 at 12:47 AM
"to anyone?" Ask any infectious disease doctor, you know, someone who knows what they are talking about. Like me. "unless you are compromised" you say, like, oh a hospital patient, being taken care of by healthcare workers who have been vaccinated per this rule. I am wasting my time. People like you are too ignorant to spend time on.
Marshall Cochrane September 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Did any of you read the article before you started posting comments???This is a mandate to employees...If I go to a medical facility I do not want to catch the desease from the person who is supposed to vaccinate me...This is not a mandate on citizens. It's a mandate to protect citizens...Just as a Dr. must scrub before performing an operation to prevent infection...the same concept works in immunizing health workers...Or, if you're on the operating table would you make scubbing "optional?" The comments about God determining who gets sick is ridiculous...When I go into a medical facility for treatment I do not want to become infected by the medical staff! Period!!!
Ian Lipnicky (still a SportsFan) September 12, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Ah. So, because you're a doctor you should be able to mandate that we all be vaccinated even if it's against our wishes. Nothing like a dictatorship to make one feel good. Eh?
Joseph Catindig September 12, 2012 at 01:27 AM
just because you a are an ID doc doesn't mean you know everything, Doc!
Marian Mosby September 12, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Fourteen comments today so far...where do you find the time Sportsfan? Are you retired?
Redrock September 12, 2012 at 01:28 AM
As a government worker with a guaranteed lifetime pension, whatever you PRIVATE employees want me to do I’ll do it… It’s the least I can do to show my gratitude for all your hard work while I collect a huge tax payer funded check! I’ll take the shot in the end- while your 401k money sinks in the toilet, my pension is guaranteed and will NEVER run out because you smart, rich guys in the private sector will always be there to fund my lavish, soon to be retired lifestyle. Life is hard when you lay poolside 8-5 and life will be worse when my customized motor home will be complete, just in time for my retirement! I love my government job with guaranteed pension!
Joseph Catindig September 12, 2012 at 01:31 AM
how about you discuss with us the well documented side effects of some of these vaccines being used out there Doc!
Joseph Catindig September 12, 2012 at 01:48 AM
leech on brother!
Ian Lipnicky (still a SportsFan) September 12, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Marian - thanks for the concern. Aren't you sweet. Bless your heart.
Toni Leance September 12, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Reddick you are an idiot
lovelafayette September 13, 2012 at 06:12 AM
A mask on a health care provider in a doctors office is to protect the health care provider from the patient's germs.In surgery the mask is to protect the patient from the providers germs. It would make more sense to require patients to wear a mask TO the office when they have a cough, fever or rash. Masking an unvaccinated health care worker 100% of the day makes for an unpleasant work environment, is a waste of resources, will diminish the quality of the conversation and dialogue, and offers no extra benefit to the patient if the provider is well. You COULD make it illegal to come to work in a health care facility with a cough or fever or rash, that would prevent transmission. I want to know what percentage of patients vs providers are vaccinated, and the rates of influenza in health care workers. I am not convinced that doctors offices in the USA are a major transmitter of flu. We stay home if sick, constantly boost our immunity via exposures, mask sick patients, wear gloves and mask ourselves with sick patients, wash our hands frequently, use disinfectants frequently...Vaccinated or unvaccinated we are less likely than the average joe to spread flu. I do not feel that there is enough potential benefit to the patient for the county to impose this rule on my employees, for me to enforce! The county should conduct free flu vaccination clinics in the workplace if they want to increase vaccination rates.

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