Health Care Policies

Health Care Policies



HealthCare Policies

Mandatoryflu immunization

Itis estimated that over thirty six thousands people die annually as aresult of flu or influenza infection. However, flu is a preventabledisease. Flu can be effectively prevented using annual influenzavaccination. However, mandatory influenza immunization, especiallyamong health care workers is a very controversial issue. Since themid 1980s, the most important step towards prevention of influencehas been immunization of health care workers (Miller &amp Ross,2010). However, majority of them are reluctant to get theimmunization voluntarily. As a result, health care facilities canimplement a mandatory immunization of all its workers. Usually, thepolicy is necessitated by an impending or predicted outbreak of fluin the locality. Since it is a highly infectious disease, a healthcare worker who has been infected can spread the disease to his orher patients. Therefore, mandatory immunization is aimed at ensuringthe patients are safe.

Itis prudent to consider the different perspectives that are likely toarise and have an implication on the implementation of the policy.Some liberals and conservative groups have been opposed to mandatoryimmunization. They argue that these polices are an infringement ofthe rights and liberties of the health care workers. They have alsoargued that there is no credible research based evidence that supportmandatory flu immunization. These liberal groups have been led byhealth workers unions (Ribner et al, 2008).

Thereare also legal considerations that need to be addressed in theimplementation of the policy. This is because the legality ofmandatory immunization of health care workers has always been raised.Majority of the legal arguments relates to the rights of the healthcare workers verses the safety of the patients. Thus, mandatoryvaccination requirements increases the number of health care workersimmunized against influenza and consequently increased patient safety(Ribner et al, 2008). Therefore, legal precedents support mandatoryimmunization if there is sufficient evidence to suggest that it isnecessary for the public safety.

Froman ethical perspective, medical ethics seem to support the idea ofmandatory influenza immunization. However, it is important to notethat there are some opposing views that have made reference tomedical ethics. For example, opponents have always referred to therights of the individuals and autonomy principle. This is based onthe view that adult individuals have the right to make decisionsabout their health (Miller &amp Ross, 2010). Although thesepositions are based on valid argument, the public health and safetyoverweigh individual rights. Thus, the policies are morallyacceptable.

Froman economic, social and cultural perspective, there is nothing wrongwith mandatory immunization. Generally, cultural and social factorsthat negatively affect the implementation of the policy do not exist.The society and well as the economy will benefit from the mandatoryimmunization policy. The health care facility and the health careworkers will benefit economically from the policy. When individualshave severe cases of flu, they are likely to seek for medical leaveor be absent from work. The reduced manpower in the facility haseconomic implication. The period of sickness has economicalimplication on the health care worker. For example, in the case of aseasonal flu outbreak, both medical and non medical workers will beaffected. The members of the society will have no one to treat sincethe medical workers are also sick or will be attended by a sickdoctor or nurse. Therefore, social and economic considerations favorthe policy.


Miller,A. &amp Ross, D. (2010). Mandated Influenza Vaccines and Health CareWorkers’ Autonomy, Virtual Mentor. 12(9), p 706-710.

RibnerB. S., et al (2008). Use of a mandatory declination form in a programfor influenza vaccination of healthcare workers. Infect Control HospEpidemiol 29(4), p 302-308.