Flu vaccination is Mercy’s moral obligation

In response to Lindsay Noisomís letter in which she criticizes Mercy Regional Medical Centerís policy of influenza vaccination for its employees (Herald, Nov. 13):

Health-care workers are required by the Colorado Board of Health to be vaccinated against influenza. During flu season, health-care workers may come in contact with hundreds of patients, many of whom are vulnerable to infection because of weakened immune systems. In addition to being a state requirement, it is also our moral and ethical responsibility as health-care workers to protect patients, co-workers and the community from preventable infections such as influenza.

In addition to immunization, we take many other steps to ensure the safety of our patients and co-workers. We provide masks and hand sanitizer at every public entrance and ask visitors with a cough or fever (signs of infection) to wear a mask while in the hospital. We encourage all employees and visitors to wash their hands frequently, and we provide hand sanitizer throughout the facility.

Regarding claims about mercury in the flu vaccine, the vaccine available to Mercy associates comes in individually packaged doses that are mercury-free. Claims that influenza vaccine causes Alzheimerís disease are unsupported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence, and the national Alzheimerís Association cites this concern as a myth.

Noisomís opinions about flu vaccination are contrary to the positions held by many medical and health organizations that not only believe in the efficacy of influenza vaccination, but also support universal or mandatory vaccination for health-care workers:

American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado Hospital Association, Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Advisory Committee, Infectious Diseases Society of America, The Joint Commission, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and National Patient Safety Foundation.

John A.K. Boyd, M.D., chief medical officer, Mercy Regional Medical Center