Nurses Are Good at Giving Flu Vaccines, Bad at Getting Them
So what's a hospital to do? I saw one solution during a recent visit to a rehab center. A handful of employees were wearing surgical masks as they went about their work day. These employees weren't sick or necessarily caring for people who were sick. They were wearing masks because they hadn't gotten a flu shot.
They were part of a new policy requiring employees who'd opted not to get a flu vaccine to wear a mask while at work, even when they were feeling healthy. Those who had received the vaccine were identified by a dot on their employee badge. Notices about this new policy were posted around the hospital.
As the mother of a young patient, I want healthcare workers to get flu shots. But I wondered whether the masks were more of a public shaming technique—the vaccine version of a scarlet letter—than a real protection mechanism.
On my next visit, I didn't see any employees wearing the masks. Either the new policy had quickly fizzled out, or the vaccine holdouts had buckled and decided that getting a flu shot was better than the hassle of spending the next five months wearing a mask. Are there better solutions to the problem of non-vaccinated healthcare workers? Please share your thoughts with me and your fellow readers.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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