Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mandatory Flu Shots

The New York State Department of Health recently passed emergency regulations requiring all healthcare personnel working in hospital and nursing homes to receive mandatory influenza vaccinations or face termination of employment.

I am a vaccine advocate and believe that vaccinations have decreased and in some cases eradicated some infectious illnesses. I do, however, worry about the mandate aspect of this law and how it will be truly be enforced.

What do you think? Good idea? Cutting-edge? Violation of privacy? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


David said...

I've heard that since H1N1 has been classified as pandemic. Drug companies are no longer liable should someone have a reaction to their flu shot. Is that true?

Stephen Ferrara, NP said...

Hi David,

I am no expert on liability. However, it is my understanding that our government will assume some liability due to the pandemic nature of the H1N1 vaccine.

However, I'm not sure what type of liability anyone has concern over. This is the same flu vaccine that is given as the seasonal varient only containing the H1N1 strain. It is no different otherwise. The FDA is overseeing production and quality with the lot numbers as they do with all other vaccinations.

If a pandemic was declared 6 weeks earlier than announced, we would only have 1 strain of influenza (seasonal + H1N1) this year. Unfortunately, it took additional time to come to that conclusion and thus requires a second vaccination.

Anonymous said...

"same flu vaccine as the seasonal varient ONLY containing the H1N1 strain" uhmmm...check your facts on the differences. i think you may reconsider.

Stephen Ferrara, NP said...


You tell me to "check my facts." What evidence do you have that it is different otherwise?

This is taken from the FDA's website:

"What makes up the Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent vaccines?
The Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccines are manufactured using the same approved processes used to produce the seasonal influenza vaccines. Ingredients used during the manufacture of influenza vaccines include substances to help prevent bacterial contamination, to inactivate or “kill” the viruses, and stabilizers to prevent the vaccine from changing. Vaccines that are packaged in multi-dose vials use a preservative to prevent contamination.
The Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent vaccines are made from a single influenza virus strain that is an A/California/7/09-like virus. For the injectible vaccines, or shots, the virus is inactivated, using the same processes the manufacturers use for seasonal influenza vaccines. The vaccine administered via nasal spray contains a live, attenuated virus.

People who have a severe (life-threatening) allergy to chicken eggs, or to any other substance in the vaccine, should not be vaccinated."

Anonymous said...

I read the vaccine insert from the Sanofi Fluzone seasonal flu vaccine and I see there is a component of H1N1 in it. Does this mean that NYS healthcare workers will be getting 2 or maybe 3 doses of H1N1 virus? In NYS healthcare workers are mandated to get the seasonal flu vaccines and the H1N1 or be terminated.

Stephen Ferrara, NP said...

Hi Anonymous,

No, the H1N1 strain that is in the Sanofi 2009 Seasonal Influenza is NOT the same as novel H1N1.

This is an excerpt from Sanofi's press release:

The vaccine formulation for the 2009-2010 season contains three strains of the influenza virus: the A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1)-like virus; the A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like virus; and the B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus. The three strains for the new influenza vaccine formulation were confirmed by the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological
Products Advisory Committee in February 2009 and correspond with
recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO) also in February.

Influenza vaccine is formulated each year to match the strains predicted to circulate during the upcoming season. This formulation for the 2009-2010 influenza season introduces a new B strain. The two A strains are unchanged from the 2008-2009 season formulation.

The seasonal influenza vaccine does not incorporate the
A/California/7/2009(H1N1) virus strain of the novel A(H1N1) influenza and is not expected to offer protection against this new type of influenza. Sanofi
Pasteur is working with the WHO and the CDC on the development of a separatevaccine for the novel A(H1N1) influenza, commonly referred to as the new "swine" influenza.

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

I think that it's important to bring to light that the swine flu is not a "new flu". It's been around since the 1950's I think. Any flu is dangerous. I got my regular flu vaccine but am waiting for the non-live doses before I get that one. Just my preference.