Health care workers' resistance of vaccine reveals public doubts
Vaccination rates too low, say hospital officials
Now that the H1N1 vaccine is headed to medical offices, health care workers who are suspicious and resistant to being vaccinated echo the doubts of many in the general public.
It seems odd that those who work in healthcare, and are thus highly exposed to germs and pandemics such as swine flu, should be resistant to being vaccinated. But it seems that these employees have a generally low rate of flu shots for regular seasonal flu as well.
Some officials have spoken of mandating the H1N1 vaccine for health care workers.
* Government says healthcare workers believe myths
* Some hospitals fight back with mandatory vaccination
* Fears reflect public doubts about vaccines
WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Hospital and other healthcare workers are at the front of the line to get the newswine flu vaccine, but many are resisting and even fighting vaccination requirements.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot yet say how many are reluctant to have the shots because the campaign has just started. But the number may be significant given that only about 40 percent of U.S. healthcare workers ever get vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
A vaccination requirement sparked protests in New York this month, and already one lawyer has filed suit to allow staffers to opt out.
Healthcare workers, at high risk of infection with influenza, includingswine flu, were the first offered the vaccine against H1N1 in many states that have started vaccinating campaigns over the past two weeks.
"It is extremely important that healthcare workers, as well as all hospital staff, get vaccinated for both H1N1 and seasonal flu," said Lynnae Mahaney, president of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Mahaney's organization surveyed pharmacy directors at 341 hospitals across the country and found only 37 percent could report vaccination rates of more than 70 percent at their hospitals.
"That's too low," said Mahaney.