Do Health Care Professionals Get Their Flu Shots?

Although they're pretty good about ignoring the mistakes of their peers, apparently health care workers are smart about one thing: Less than 40 percent of them get flu shots.

The joint study, conducted by UCLA and Harvard University, surveyed more than 1,600 health care professionals in 2000 to determine how many of them get vaccinated annually. Overall, 38 percent of the workers polled got a flu shot, and the numbers were even lower among health aides, African-Americans and those under age 50.

The reasons why workers opted not to get vaccinated were telling:

  • Workers didn't believe the vaccine would work.
  • Their immune systems were strong enough to withstand exposure to the flu.
  • They were concerned about side effects.

Of course, the "moral" of the study is to make it easier for health care workers to get vaccinated. Considering all the panic about the bird flu epidemic that never was, however, those workers appear a lot smarter than the "experts" would have you believe.

If health care workers are staying away from flu vaccines, you should strongly consider it too.

Journal of General Internal Medicine

The Daily Bruin January 27, 2006

Live Science January 24, 2006

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