How probability has made the mask or the vaccine a reality for BC’s healthcare workers

I have spent the last week cooped up with my seasonal friends Nyquil, Tylenol Cold and Flu, and NeoCitran battling this year’s flu strain of headaches, nausea, sore throat, coughing, dry eyes, aching body, and congestion. Gross! So I confined myself to my tiny apartment to ensure that I wasn’t going to pass this contaminate onto whoever I came in contact with.

Your welcome Victoria… but what if it became mandatory that your occupation forced you to inject yourself with a flu virus. Well it is mandatory for all BC Healthcare workers to receive a flu vaccination.

In recent months Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s Provincial Health Officer made it mandatory that all health-authority staff, physicians and residents, volunteers, students, contractors and vendors who come in contact with patients will need to get the influenza vaccine, or wear a mask during the flu season.

The policy was implemented after BC healthcare workers received some of the lowest rates (around 50 per cent) to participate in free vaccination shots. BC will also be the first province in Canada to implement the province wide policy.

Recent studies suggest that 50-60 per cent of “healthy adults” will be protected from the flu when they come into contact with others that have it when given the vaccinations.

And while it suggested that those given the vaccine aren’t likely to get sick from the vaccination the chances are still probable.

So what does all this mean for those healthcare workers?

That the chance of catching the flu is significantly decreased when given the flu vaccination, which will result in less over time paid to healthcare workers to cover the shifts of their fellow employees and a less likelihood that patients run the chance of catching the flu.

While this might sound great to someone not working in the healthcare industry would you support a mandatory policy that made you get vaccinated at your place of employment?

I am definitely not a health professional that analyzes stacks upon stacks of data in regards to the flu vaccination but I do understand how statistics can be used to suggest a relationship between one thing and another for the purpose of persuasion, and so I choose not to get a flu vaccination and supposedly increase my chances of catching the seasonal contaminant.

After all it’s my decision… well at least for the time being.

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