The May 2nd issue of the journal Vaccine sheds some light on a disturbing trend for all families:
Many nurses resist vaccinations despite being in regular contact with extremely vulnerable patients. The article is titled “What lies behind the low rates of vaccinations among nurses who treat infants?”
The article is disturbing for anyone who is starting a family or is considering placing a loved one in a nursing home.
In 2010, Pertussis (also known as Whooping Cough) was diagnosed in 20 nurses and doctors in infant care departments in a large Israeli hospital. The Israeli health department determined that the staff of the hospital should be immunized for Pertussis. After three months, only 2% had been immunized. Pertussis is one of the deadly childhood diseases that children are typically vaccinated against. When the numbers of parents who refused to vaccinate their children increased however, the herd immunity decreased. In 2010, according to National Public Radio, 9,000 cases were reported and 10 infants died in California alone. That’s the highest number in over 60 years. Because of the efficacy of vaccines, most people have never had to hear the terrifying whoop that accompanies the disease. So, knowing the danger, why would so few health professionals acquire the Pertussis vaccine?According to the article, there were several reasons:
- Nurses were generally distrustful of the health department. Because the H1N1 scare was not nearly as bad as it was feared, the nurses felt that all decrees by the department were likely to be overblown.
- Nurses were also unhappy about being repeatedly asked to get the Pertussis vaccine. They felt badgered by the administration.
- They were also worried about side effects of the Pertussis vaccine, even though side effects are generally very mild.
- Moreover, they simply didn’t believe that they would get infected with Pertussis, and they certainly didn’t believe that they would ever infect anyone else with it or any other disease.
Needless to say, these attitudes are extremely dangerous under the best of circumstances. When they come on the heels of a whooping cough outbreak in the very hospital where they work, they are positively baffling. Even though the Pertussis vaccine is not an issue in nursing homes, other vaccinations certainly are. Like the very young, the elderly are particularly vulnerable to Hepatitis, Influenza, and other forms of infectious diseases. When the staff at nursing homes refuse to be vaccinated it puts every resident of that nursing home at risk.
Is refusing to be vaccinated related to nursing home neglect?
That’s a difficult question to answer. Certainly, knowingly infecting a person with a disease has been a successfully proven injury. The difficulty lies in proving that the infection took place and also proving that the person who infected the victim was aware that he or she was contagious. It’s also important to remember that not all diseases or infections are caused by sick people. Staph infections, bedsores (or pressure sores) can be caused by unsanitary conditions inside the nursing home and hospital. If you have a loved one in a nursing home who has been infected with a serious illness, and you have good reason to believe that negligence on the part of the nursing home employees contributed to that illness, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.