Monday, October 6, 2014

Understanding the Facts about Influenza Vaccination

As part of our commitment to patient safety, every MedStar associate across the system will receive a flu vaccination this fall. The principles of a high reliability organization that we strive to achieve further accentuate the importance of prevention, which is the sole purpose of vaccination.  Vaccination is proven to be the best way to prevent the spread of influenza to patients.

We all know that there are a lot of myths about the vaccine so below is a list of common excuses people state for not getting the flu vaccine. Next to the excuse, you will find facts associated with the myths and misconceptions.

“I don’t get sick.”
The flu vaccine doesn’t just protect you. It protects your family, patients and co-workers. You could have no flu symptoms and still be a carrier. Get the vaccine to keep from giving the flu to others.
“I got the flu shot once and it gave me the flu.”
It is impossible for the flu vaccine to give you the flu. The vaccine contains a killed virus, which cannot cause disease.
“I am afraid of needles.”
An intranasal vaccine is available, so a needle is not required.
“I can’t. I am pregnant.”
Expectant mothers are at a higher risk of complication if they get the flu. The CDC recommends flu vaccines for expectant mothers, regardless of trimester. According to a recent study, an inactivated vaccine given to pregnant women resulted in reduced flu illness by 63 percent in infants up to six months of age. The vaccine averted approximately one-third of all febrile respiratory illnesses in mothers and infants.
“I am allergic to Thimerosal.”
MedStar has inactivated flu vaccine in syringes that do not contain Thimerosal.

We recognize that a small percentage of associates may not be able to receive the flu vaccination due to medical contra-indications and/or religious exemptions. The Influenza Vaccine Exemption Form will need to be obtained from and completed/returned to Occupational Health by October 31, 2014. Please contact your HR department to obtain a copy of the Influenza Vaccine Exemption Form. 

The flu vaccine is now available to all MedStar Health associates at all Occupational Health offices and flu shot clinics will be scheduled at a variety of locations across the system. 

Thank you for your commitment to providing the best patient care through flu vaccination.

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