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Punblic Health Essay Example: Mandatory Flu Vaccines for Health Care Workers

3 pages
619 words
Sewanee University of the South
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The enforcement of mandatory flu vaccination is viable because the professionals have an obligation to the patient and therefore such a practice will benefit the patient while portending no proven harm to the practitioners. Secondly, vaccination of the professionals helps in the attaining of the shared obligations of practitioners and the institutions that aim to protect the public against communicable or infectious diseases. It is worth noting that clinicians, nurses, or physicians have special powers and privileges, meaning that they assume special responsibilities and obligations (Daines, 2009). The obligations include but not limited to do good, do commit no harm, respect the autonomy of the patient, and to deal with all the patients with fairness. Vaccination of the health care patients is consistent with the obligations in that it prevents harm to the patients through curbing preventable diseases.

The focus of public ethics is to serve the interest of the community through the maintenance of the physical environment that promotes and support good health. Such a perspective supports the fact that health care workers should be vaccinated as a means of promoting the necessary conditions for ensuring healthy community (Daines, 2009). Higher degree of health care immunization reduces the spread of conditions such as influenza. Additionally, it is a proper measure of mainlining an effective and sustainable the workforce. The community needs to be in a safe place and that is why there is regulation of various sectors such as traffic and food consumption. The immunization of the health care workers fall in the same category as the traffic laws since the objective is to promote safety.

Vaccination of the health workers is consistent with the constitutional provisions, as the government normally aims at promoting the welfare of the public. The government has the mandate and the powers to control individual activities that infringe on the rights, the freedoms, and the common good. For example, in the United States is a reservation of the states. The vaccination of the workers is primarily a state matter. It means that every state has the discretion of enforcing the laws in collaboration with the police force. Mandatory vaccination of the practitioners limits their liberty, but promotes welfare and health of the members of the public or the citizenry.

Policies and regulations are normally a result of situations, particularly the emergency medical situations call for extraordinary measures. For example, in 2009, the outbreak of the Swine Flu or the H1N1 forced the health care workers and the policy makers to rethink such as the vaccination of voluntary health care providers. The adequacy of the program is essential in the ensuring a health public. The evidence available proves that various programs that advocated for voluntary immunization failed to achieve the intended goals. For example, the voluntary vaccination of workers in the US only attained 50 percent success rate, meaning that close to half of the workers did not undergo immunization thereby putting the patients at greater risk of infection (Ottenberg et al, 2011). The above reason means that vaccination should be mandatory and enforced not only by the health organizations but by the federal and state agencies. In order to actualize the mandatory vaccination, there is need to inform the workers of the benefits and the safety if such an undertaking. Such a practice has the propensity of ensuring cooperation and effectiveness in preventing seasonal infections such as influenza and H1N1.


Daines, R. (2009). Mandatory flu vaccine for health care workers. New York State Department of Health Press Releases.

Ottenberg, A. L., Wu, J. T., Poland, G. A., Jacobson, R. M., Koenig, B. A., & Tilburt, J. C. (2011). Vaccinating health care workers against influenza: the ethical and legal rationale for a mandate. American Journal of Public Health, 101(2), 212-216.

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