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Should the Flu Shot Be Mandatory?

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SHOULD THE FLU SHOT BE MANDATORY? Vaccines have been proclaimed by many people as one of the miracles of modern medicine. Vaccines are credited with saving thousands of lives and wiping out many contagious diseases. Recently, there has been a tremendous debate whether annual influenza vaccines should be mandatory. Influenza vaccines should be voluntary because people have the right to examine data on vaccinations and make their own informed decisions. Although people should have the freedom to choose to be vaccinated, the public needs to be educated about the personal, economical, and social benefits of receiving the influenza vaccine. In addition, people who are at a high risk of contracting influenza as well as health care providers should be encouraged to receive an influenza vaccine in order to decrease the major health burden associated with the disease. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection of the respiratory system and it is characterized by abrupt onset of fever, sore throat, and nonproductive cough. ...read more.


Therefore, people at a high risk of contracting influenza should seriously consider being vaccinated. Evidence suggests that educating high-risk people about the influenza vaccine is worthwhile. For example, during the influenza season of 2000-2001, 70% of adults 65 years of age and older received the flu shot. This suggests that the majority of high-risk people are aware of the benefits of the influenza vaccine and therefore, they choose to receive it. People working in the field of health care should be encouraged to receive an annual flu shot. People such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, facility staff, and visitors play a significant role in protecting vulnerable patients. Health-care workers should be immunized against influenza in order to prevent placing patients in their care at a serious risk of hospitalization. These caregivers must be made aware that their decisions impact the lives of the patients they care for. Data collected from previous years indicates that influenza vaccine education campaigns work effectively. For example, the number of employees in long-term care facilities who received a flu shot doubled from 40% in 1999 to 86.4% in the year 2000. ...read more.


First of all, would influenza be out of control if annual vaccinations had not been implemented? Have drug companies, "hungry for ever-higher profits, driven the influenza vaccination agenda?"3 Would people's immune systems be better able to fight influenza without annual vaccinations? The answers to these complex questions lie within each individual and every answer is unique. The answers are simply a matter of personal opinion and that is why these important questions must be taken into consideration by the public. In conclusion, vaccination remains the most reliable and cost-effective way to prevent influenza. Influenza vaccination should not be mandatory and should remain the choice of each individual. However, people at a high risk of influenza as well as health-care providers should consider receiving the vaccine. In addition, programs educating people about the benefits of influenza vaccination should become a priority among health officials. Ultimately, people should trust their own judgment when deciding whether influenza vaccines are right for them. 1 Essen, G. A., "The Socio-Economic Impact of Influenza". http://www.eswi.org/Bulletin_October_1997.cfm 2 Frayha, Husn. "Influenza Vaccination: A Call for Action" http://www.kfshrc.edu.sa/annals/176/97-248R.html 3 "Influenza". http://www.caw.ca/whatwedo/health&safety/factsheet/hsfssubstanceno37.asp 1 ...read more.

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