It is official that New South Wales has become the only Australian state to require flu vaccination among medical staff. All staff who work in “high-risk” areas such as transplant, neonatal and cancer wards are all mandated to get their flu shots in order to protect themselves and to avoid infecting others particularly vulnerable patients. Older adults over 65, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are those at high risk of becoming infected with the flu.
Medical staff must show proof that they have been vaccinated or otherwise they will be forced to wear a mask or be moved to another area. For those who refuse to get vaccinated can be fired.
Professor Raina MacIntyre, an infectious disease expert and Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) admits that she has not been a supporter of this kind of forceful action. But given the fact that flu vaccination uptake is low among healthcare workers – mandatory vaccination has become an absolute necessity to prevent others from getting sick or even dying.
She states: “People who care for the vulnerable should get vaccinated, like child-care workers, aged-care workers. They all need to think about getting vaccinated to protect the vulnerable people they take care of.”
It’s been reported that only an estimated 16-60% of health workers get the annual influenza shot and for aged-care workers, the rate is even lower.