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The Case Against Mandatory Flu Vaccination for Health Care Workers

Pigs flyNote: This is a refreshing commentary by a group of physicians in Canada. Could (would) an American doctor, with our for profit healthcare system, dare to write something similar? 

The case against mandatory flu vaccination for health care workers

The evidence of the benefits of vaccination is not nearly strong enough to justify taking away doctors’ autonomy.

 By: Dr. Michael Gardam , Dr. Camille Lemieux, Dr. Susy Hota, Published on Mon Jul 28 2014

There has been a good deal of recent media attention regarding what some see as a medical and ethical imperative that health-care workers be vaccinated against influenza. This view stems from two conclusions: vaccinating health-care workers protects patients from influenza-related harm, and current strategies have not been successful in achieving high vaccination rates.

Some Canadian jurisdictions want to see vaccination made mandatory while others want to mandate that unvaccinated workers wear a mask while at work throughout the influenza season.

Unfortunately, this issue is not as black and white as it has been portrayed: the evidence supporting influenza vaccination is not definitive and a lack of evidence and practical concerns make mandated masking a dubious policy.

More than 200 viruses can cause “influenza-like illness” and influenza is typically responsible for only 10 to 15 per cent of such illness each season. The majority of people who say they have “the flu” will not have influenza. Influenza vaccination does not protect against illness due to these other viruses. Some of these, such as respiratory syncytial virus, are being increasingly recognized as a dangerous pathogen affecting the elderly.

How well does the influenza vaccine work? On average, it is about 60-per-cent effective in protecting against influenza, although in some years, it is far less effective. Protection wanes as the influenza season wears on and by springtime its protective effect can be negligible. Some years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended the use of prophylactic medications during outbreaks in vaccinated people because we cannot trust that the vaccine properly protects them. A renowned research group concluded last year that the public health community has been guilty of over-estimating vaccine effectiveness in order to encourage vaccination.  Read the full commentary at The Star.com.



There is a growing population of health care workers who are pushing back.

They're gaining traction & need all the help they can get.

Christina Waldman

According to "The Green Tea Book" (Mitscher and Toews, research decades old shows that green tea inactivates the flu virus, as does simple fruit juice. Who needs shots or nasal spray?

david m burd

The Drs. Gardam, Lemieux, & Hota contradict themselves as they go on to say: "We get the influenza vaccine every year and encourage others to do so" thereby marching in lockstep with The Medical Industry's addiction to a toxic vaccine that is all risk with no benefit.

Why don't they educate themselves by reading the Cochrane Collaboration's review of scores of reports that clearly cite flu vaccines to be useless. And, they might review the makers of flu vaccines own literature that cite the shot risks of seizures, paralysis, on and on.

These are three doctors that are wolves in sheep clothing as far as I'm concerned.


This article fell short because it focused completely on efficacy and didn't mention the more important aspect of forcing the uptake of an invasive medical intervention with potential serious adverse effects.

Jeannette Bishop

It is good to see healthcare professionals speak out for respect of rights to choose or decline an intervention. I would like to see a little more "professional" voicing of the need for honest research on the risk side of the vaccine equation, a little too happy to not know IMO. Maybe they feel they can't go there, but there appears to be a blindness about how little they are able to provide conditions for informed consent when offering a vaccine, and therefore a blindness to what really drives many of "the anti-vaxers" who've been left to learn of the risks through painful experience.

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