Reflection question: Immunization programs are highly effective and are a critical component of the OHS program. Do you think immunizations should be mandatory for health care workers? Discuss why or why not with evidence to support your position.
Immunization is always a struggle when its first mandated, as per Covid shots. In long term care staff were made to get injections or lose their job. As of now staff need 3 covid injections to be hired. Staff already working are mandated at 2 injections. Flu shots were highly recommended or had to take anti viral medication if working during outbreak or be off during outbreak if refusing to take shot or anti viral. Health and safety always look at stats and how we are dealing with in terms of staff of refusing to get immunized. But yes I do believe staff should be immunized for health care workers.
I think Immunzations should be a choice for the health care workers,but also education programs and seminars should be put in place to educate the workers on the importance of the immunizations,risks and also effects,with this information individuals should be able to make an informed decision on what is beneficial to them.
During the pandemic I saw how my collegues who had underlying conditions struggled to take the vaccine simply because they didnt know if the vaccine was going to cause an effect on their health or not.Such individuals were put in a vulnerable position where they have to chose between their health and the job.
Prior to composing an answer, I consulted the CNO practice standard on Ethics. As per the CNO:
“Client choice means self-determination and includes the right to the information necessary to make
choices and to consent to or refuse care. Clients know the context in which they live and their own
beliefs and values. As a result, when they have the necessary information, they can decide what is best
I fully endorse body autonomy and support the right to informed decisions. Ultimately, as nurses we must support and respect the clients right to make that decision. I was taught that nurses must remain neutral and not voice personal opinions. I feel it is total hypocrisy for a governing body to mandate any procedure involving my body. No governing body has any right to my body. An employer who requires medical disclosure would not be compatible with my personal beliefs and values. I have considered leaving this profession completely for this reason.
I completely understand. Our rights should not be any different than those in our care. On one hand we have a right to refuse, but unfortunately an employer has the right to refuse to give us a job. I think the ball dropped with COVID, as many of us were already employed and working and had the COVID vaccine essentially shoved down our throat with almost overly aggressive tactics. With it being such an emergent situation, it seemed there was no time for debate or discussion around the ethics of how it played out.
This is always a question I struggle with, even though I’m vaccinated it was not an easy decision. I strongly agree with you Erin, I see where Clients area allowed to choose, vaccinated or not to be vaccinated, but workers have to choose between work or vaccine. I think we as workers should also be able to make an informed decision and be respected by it. Organization can then implement a policy that during an active outbreak, unvaccinated staff should stay home for the duration of such outbreak. This would be a healthy compromise for all in my opinion.
This is a tricky question…while I fully support vaccines because that is something I am comfortable with, I do not believe that any human should be forced to be put something in their body. We always preach to our patients to be proactive in their care, be their own advocate and then something like a mandate comes into effect and that doesn’t matter anymore? I found it hard to say one thing, and believe another. That being said, whenever possible, I think its fair to have a policy such as the hospital policy I encountered for the flu shot. It was optional, however if someone chose not to get the vaccine, a mask would be worn the duration of shift, and if that worker called in sick, it would be unpaid as per the policy. At the end of the day, most people are going to get vaccinated and those who do not, it is not my job to change their mind but to be there for education and answer questions to the best of my ability when able.
That is a great answer. You are obviously in the right career.
In today’s climate this is definitely a hot topic. I do believe education is key when it comes to people making informed decisions in regards to immunizations. I believe in a persons choice to make a informed decision in regards to whether they will be vaccinated or not, but I also believe that part of their informed decision is understanding there may be actions or “consequences” if you like to one choice or the other. I know when I worked in the community that getting the flu vaccine was not mandatory but that it was made aware should a facility you worked in go into outbreak you would not be allowed to work there, so you would loose those clients.
I think immunizations being mandated for health care workers are over the line to a point. As long as people are educated, they should have a choice as to making their own informed decision. Some people have their or have their own legitimate reasons to decline, whether they be spiritual or medical for example, and should be considered. From OHS perspective I think its good to have peoples immunization status on record, should there be an issue and for contact tracing. Having education on vaccination or choosing non-vaccination is critical to understand the risks either way. Ideally, from a health care worker perspective, I would hope people chose to be vaccinated to reduce risk.
I feel that the immunization mandate fir health care workers is an overreach. Although immunizations are highly effective and critical component of the OHS program, this doesn’t trump over the right to make decisions for one’s own life.
We apply this in healthcare by respecting patient’s rights to refuse medications or care. How is this right to choose applicable to one group of people and not to another?
In the end, this has affected both healthcare providers and clients as they are being refused of service due to being unvaccinated. It caused strain and exhaustion to our health care system due to staff forced to quit being unvaccinated.
This is probably one of the most thought-provoking questions we’ve had yet in this course. According to WHO ethical decision making regarding covid vaccine, healthcare workers had many factors to consider when it came to mandating. One of the points I read that resonated with me is that healthcare workers have the ethical obligation to not do harm to their patients. I believe everyone who has entered the career of healthcare and specifically nursing feels an onus to care for and protect and advocate for their patient. We don’t explore ethics to a wide degree in college or university. Being able to experience a pandemic situation has definitely given us all an experience with ethics and Healthcare.
There are so many personal factors when deciding whether or not to take a vaccine. Due to the urgency of the pandemic there really hasn’t been time to research, reflect and to be able to truly understand the long-term effect from being vaccinated as well as from not being vaccinated. As a manager during the pandemic I felt it was important to validate every workers concern, to hear them out, to support the right to choice as well as balance the implemented mandate policy for the company I worked for. This meant I spent a lot of time doing rapid tests for those who chose not to be vaccinated up until the company decided the action plan for those employees.
I don’t know that this answer really gives a definite view on vaccination. I support the ethical care of patients. I think it’s a more complex issue when healthcare workers are also the patients.
As a healthcare worker, we are taught that immunization reduces our risk of getting diseases and is a necessary step for disease eradication and elimination.
Do you think it should be mandatory?
Personally, yes. I think it should be mandated for healthcare workers especially because we are in the front lines and we face patients with these preventable diseases. Personally, I believe that protecting myself is protecting others. Ethically, I also respect the opinion of other people not wanting to feel forced into something they are not fully comfortable in.
As nurses, we know that immunizations help reduce our risk of contracting viruses and the symptoms that may come with them. Immunizations play a huge role in our health care system, and that is simply shown by the number of hospitalizations and COVID cases after the vaccines were available. While personally, I am all for getting vaccinated if it means lowering the risk of catching it or spreading it to others. However, I also understand that everyone should have a say about their own body and that there are often reasons why people may not feel as comfortable with immunizations.
I believe it should be necessary for all health care workers to be vaccinated. We are often in close spaces with others, so it is important to do all we can to protect both ourselves and the people we are providing care for. At the same time, I respect those who refuse to get vaccinated for personal reasons.
I am personally immunized x3 from COVID, but I want to have a choice in this matter. My last COVID shot was terrible. The skin on my face was peeling, and I could not sleep for a few days, despite feeling extremely fatigued. I do not want another shot.
I am of very good opinion about any other vaccine against serious diseases (MMR and hepatitis, for example).
While it is a very effective prevention method, it is not for everybody. We should also consider potential staff shortages and understand the topic of consent when it comes to such issues.