H1N1….Should I or shouldn’t I?

sickFor three days last week I was home – sick – and spent my time primarily in bed.  Once I actually had the energy to move to the couch.  Oh! And the other actual thing I did – drink water.  It was ‘just a cold’ but one of the worst I’ve had in years upon years.  All I could think was if I feel like this, so absolute shitty from a ‘just a cold’ what happens when I get the flu!!  I’ve rarely – and I do mean rarely – gotten the flu.  There’s this aversion of throwing up ….. just yuck – yuck.

This upcoming week my employer has made arrangements for all employees and volunteers to get the H1N1 vaccination. An e-mail was sent out:

[My hospital] strongly recommends all employees and volunteers receive both seasonal influenza and H1N1 influenza vaccination. To that end we have made arrangements for [*]’s employees and volunteers to receive H1N1 vaccination at Central District Health Department POD vaccination clinics for healthcare workers and priority groups.

This is the email a friend received from her supervisor; my bud usually works from home, coming in to the hospital on rare occasions.

Since we are not in a clinical setting, coming into contact with patients, etc., we don’t really fit in the high-risk category with “health care workers” per se, so unless you qualify under one of the other high-risk categories, we should wait until the vaccine is readily available for all of us, thus conserving vaccine for the specialty groups first.

My bud asked me what I thought of it.

My thinking is it’s heavy-handed; it is NOT her supervisor’s call.  Regardless of whether or not she comes in contact with emergency room patients, she is a health care worker and is entitled to receive the vaccination.  True enough, she may not be a “high-risk” health care worker; she is, however a health care worker.

Last week, St. Al’s began a policy of requiring all employees receive flu shots.  It’s either that or “wear a surgical mask November through April” if an employee opts out of receiving the vaccination.

According to the Fox 12 News (KTRV): “All of the Magic Valley Hospitals have adopted the same policy.”  I can’t find anything to back up or support that statement.   The ‘Magic Valley’ (aka – Wood River Valley) area is made up of at least eight counties: Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls Counties. Several hospitals are scattered around the valley with a few of those falling under the purview of St. Luke’s hospital system.  St. Luke’s does NOT have the same policy as St. Al’s.

St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center is also asking employees to get seasonal flu shots and asking them to sign a declination if they choose not to.  But St. Luke’s will not require employees to wear masks around the hospital.

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Oh way back, way back – 1973, while in basic – I managed to get out of getting a flu shot with one of those ‘guns.’  Not too hip on shots anyway and having someone just a tad older than me (19) giving it to me …… oh hell, naw!  And that’s how it’s been my entire adult life – no flu shots.  I’m looking to get one this year, the one involving H1N1, because I’m tellin’ ya – it’s all about that aversion to throwing up – period!

I just happened to run across this story and it required some looking into. Some members of the SEIU, who just happen to be healthcare workers in New York state, are filing a “lawsuit against the state of New York State for forcing them to get the swine flu vaccine.”  If they don’t, they are at risk for losing their jobs.  One of their ‘points’ – the usual angst about vaccines.

There’s a number of articles that are just downright scary.  It begins with an article in the New York Times about the revival of the argument.  Then over to a blog, aptly titled ‘Bird Flu Pandemic‘ that references things like the vaccine having insane levels of mercury, a few stories on lives being destroyed by taking of the vaccine (in this care – seasonal flu), etc., and the German public is in an uproar that government officials there are receiving a better vaccine than them.  And now – now an actual pig residing in Minnesota has H1N1.  We can’t get ‘swine flu’ (H1N1) from pigs, as it’s not named after pigs, but apparently pigs can get it from us.

The aversion to throwing up versus the fear of contracting some weird ass disease like Guillian-Barre that attacks the peripheral nervous system,  I am again a tad flummoxed.   Maybe throwing up isn’t so bad….

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