Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apparently, Health Care Workers are Bad People, Too

Recently, The Ottawa Citizen has been publishing columns in which they call those who are skeptical of the (as of yet undefined) H1N1 vaccine misguided and playing politics, and selfish.  We are, pace The Citizen, bad people.

Well, according to the... Ottawa Citizenhealth care workers are bad people, too:
Chocolate bars, lottery tickets and free lunches.

Many incentives have been tried in hopes of persuading Ottawa hospital workers and others on the front lines to get seasonal flu vaccines, but the numbers who roll up the sleeves of their uniforms stay stubbornly around 50 per cent.

This has public health experts worried and wondering what tack to take this year. Vaccinating Ottawa's health workers to protect patients and also keep hospitals and clinics running is the cornerstone of plans for coping with the H1N1 virus. After all, if doctors, nurses and other health-care workers fall sick at the peak of the pandemic, it could hobble the local health-care system.

Yet many strategies to encourage vaccination have failed. And making shots mandatory will meet with huge resistance, it's predicted.
Thankfully, Premier Dalton McGuinty and unions won't let anyone mandate vaccinations.  (Yes, I am commending McGuinty and unions.  Yes, I hear four sets of hooves.)

Nonetheless, let's look at the ways that health officials are trying to entice workers to get vaccinated: bribery.  And they're not just bribing individuals; they're trying to create pressure within departments to coerce everyone into getting vaccinated.  As a former HR professional, that sounds like creating a hostile work environment.  That's harassment.

Of course, the article does mention a novel approach to increasing the vaccination rate: explaining to people why it's safe.  If health officials will address the issue honestly and in good faith, maybe more of us will be convinced.

Or they could keep threatening people's jobs.

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