Western Exposure

As beds fill with swine flu victims; should vaccine be job requirement for hospital workers?

By October 1, 2009March 19th, 20152 Comments

 A report that the Washington State Hospital Association is pushing for mandatory flu vaccination of health care workers takes on new urgency in the face of a study that warns 15 states — including Washington, California, Oregon and Arizona —  could run out of hospital beds around the time the swine flu outbreak peaks.

The number of people hospitalized at the peak of the swine flu outbreak could hit 168,000 California and 30,500 in Washington, according to the report from the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health. The public health advocacy group used government flu computer models to estimate how quickly hospitals might fill up during a mild pandemic like swine flu is predicted to be, the Associated Press reports.

Even though only a fraction would be sick enough to be hospitalized, health officials are bracing: When H1N1 first appeared in the spring, more than 44,000 people visited emergency rooms in hard-hit New York City, the report noted. Just sorting out which patients are sick enough to be admitted from the vast majority who need to go home is a big job. And hospital capacity varies widely.

By the outbreak’s peak, the new report suggests Delaware and Connecticut hospitals would fill up soonest. Also on that list: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. 

The Washington State Hospital Association wants to make flu shots a job requirement for health care workers, and is pushing the state to make that happen. Already, one hospital in the state requires its workers to get the flu shot, and is expected to announce it will add the swine flu shot to that list, the Seattle Times reports.

In New York this week, state health care workers protested a similar requirement with protests and rallies. Washington Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said she does not believe she has the legal authority to impose the order. Even is she did, Selecky says, vaccinations should remain voluntary.

But the hospital association disagrees. Even though individual hospitals have the right to require vaccinations, the association wants a statewide policy of mandated vaccinations. So far, only Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle has required the flu vaccine, and saw its vaccination rates among employees rise from 54 percent to 98 percent.

“Hospital workers who don’t get vaccinated can give patients the flu,” said Cassie Sauer, a spokeswoman for the hospital association. “That’s not acceptable.”

The only other workforce where the swine flu vaccine is mandatory is the military. Members will begin getting the vaccine in the next week.

— Rita Hibbard

Rita Hibbard

Rita Hibbard



  • arnepaul says:

    This swine Flu hysteria is the biggest load of BS out there. It makes one wonder what’s in it for the government to be trying to mandate the vaccines. Is it merely a kick-back scheme from the vaccine makers? Or, probably more likely, an experiment to see how easily the people can (or cannot) be controlled? (Perhaps both?) Many a respected physician and viral researcher have stated this swine flu “pandemic” is a hoax, whether intentional or just the idiotically trendy, lazy (such as the media and some in the medical field) complying with the latest press release they’re fed by a corporation or the government. Anyone who well remembers or has seriously researched the first swine flu hysteria back in the mid 1970’s will know that scores of people died due to the vaccine, which was mandated for all military and some other government personnel. Not ONE person died from the swine flu itself, which effected only a small segment of the population. More people died from the “common” flu and even the common cold during that same period. History, particularly the ugliest and cruelest history, always repeats itself. With the majority of the public being intellectual sloths who gorge on hysteria it’s sadly easy to see how.

  • Charlotte Johnson says:

    I watched u tube, and it scared me This man is saying that the
    vaccination will be required by everyone, or they will be jailed, also that a bracelet will be put on that has a chip that gives all the information about us that we will wear for the rest of our life. Can this be happening in America? he said Oklahoma has already passed a law that if your are not given the shot, you will be jailed, please respond, as this is the worse information I have ever saw .

Leave a Reply