Why Smart Doctors Don’t Get Flu Shots

October 27, 2017

A friend tagged me on a Vaxxed video recently, and I was so glad he did. This time Polly was talking to Cammy Benton, a smart, down-to-earth doctor, who also happens to be a mother. She had a terrific story about the data behind flu vaccine recommendations and mandates. I immediately contacted her to see if I could talk her into writing it down. She thought it was a great idea. This is reposted from the blog on her practice’s website.


 

Dr. Cammy Benton

Smart doctors don’t get flu shots.

Smart patients don’t either.

Does that mean you’re not smart if you got a flu shot?

No.

It means the pharmaceutical industry has you and your wallet right where they want you.

It means you believed the hype instead of looking at the science.

Smart doctors don’t get flu shots. But I’m a doctor and not only did I get them, I insisted my mom and my siblings get their flu shot too.

Once you hear my story, you will see that I can’t judge anyone who gets a flu vaccine.

But I do judge an industry that tries to terrify and deceive people into getting a flu vaccine they do not want or need.

I made my mom and siblings get the flu vaccine too

Growing up, I never had a flu shot and I also never had the flu. But as a young adult thinking about starting a family, I listened to my doctor. I was told getting a flu shot was not only good for me and my family, it was essential. Life-saving.

And not getting a flu shot?

Only irresponsible, unintelligent patients and crackpot parents refused the flu vaccine.

How could there be a problem with the flu vaccine?

Everyone was getting one. You could get them at the supermarket. Besides, my doctor couldn’t be wrong.

Since my husband and I were starting a family, I made my mom and siblings get the flu shot too. I didn’t want my family spending time around my children if they were not fully vaccinated. That was just good common sense.

We had three children in five years and I insisted every year that family members get the flu shot. Every year.

Guess what happened?

Sick from the shot

My mom, who had not had the flu since childhood, my brother, and my sister all got high fevers, body aches, and upper respiratory infections, all within 24 hours of the flu vaccine. All lasting a week or two. For three years in a row.

I am a conventionally trained medical doctor. I saw my family get sick within a week of the flu vaccine. Three years straight. But I dismissed it.

An unfortunate coincidence.

Nothing to do with the flu vaccine.

You can’t get sick from a vaccine.

That’s what I had been taught. And that’s what I believed.

Besides, I was fine after my first flu vaccine. Initially. True, I started getting almost constant colds that lasted four or five months following the flu vaccine. Before, when I didn’t get the vaccine, I was usually healthy and cold-free in the winter.

It took me awhile to connect the dots.

It took me awhile before I stopped ignoring the clinical evidence in front of me, in my own body, and in my mom and siblings.

It’s hard for doctors to realize our education is incomplete.

It’s hard to become aware that the whole medical establishment is caught up in a belief system that is simply untrue.

It’s hard to admit that we are wrong.

It took me three years but I figured it out. Every year the flu vaccine was making me and my family sick.

My colleagues keep telling their patients you can’t get sick from the flu shot. And they say it “would have been so much worse without the shot.” Can you hear the BS meter going off? I couldn’t back then but I can now. The sound is deafening.

Look at the science. We now know, from both animal and epidemiology studies in humans, that the flu vaccine can and does make you sick.

Mandatory flu vaccines for doctors and nurses

I used to work for a group practice. Our practice decided to mandate the flu vaccine.

They did not mandate that we eat vegetables with every meal, get optimal amounts of sleep, have our vitamin D levels checked and supplement with sunbathing or supplements if they were below optimal levels, or adopt other health strategies proven to support the immune system.

Why mandate the flu vaccine?

That dictate started wheels turning.

How important is it really to get the flu shot?

What are the real risks and benefits?

In medical school we did not look critically at vaccines. We did not study the risk of adverse events, discuss vaccine ingredients, or talk in any detail about efficacy rates.

We were not told that the government compensates families with loved ones who have died from a vaccination or suffered other extreme health problems.

Instead, we were taught what amounts to little more than propaganda about vaccines.

An infectious disease specialist spends an hour or two with students showing us pictures of miserable children suffering acute side effects from infectious diseases. She says angrily, “C’mon. We can do better than that. No child should ever have to suffer like this!”

You are supposed to accept it without question and, of course, you do. No one wants a child to die. We become doctors in order to heal people, and keep them alive. So of course we don’t question the Holy Grail. Which means never looking critically at the necessity, efficacy, and safety of any given vaccine.

The flu vaccine works and saves thousands of lives every year. End of conversation.

Government-advertised death rates from the flu are grossly inflated

We are told that between 30,000-50,000 die annually of the flu, a dangerous and sometimes lethal illness that affects infants and the elderly the most. “…in the United States alone, over 36,000 people die and 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu,” according to Harvard University.

Flu death statistics are usually tallied from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report database. But deaths from the flu and from pneumonia are lumped together in one category in the MMWR. This greatly inflates the number of “flu” deaths. And is a nonsensical way to capture statistics, as the majority of pneumonia cases have nothing to do with the flu!

Yep. It is true. The death rates from the flu that we are told year after year, repeated ad nauseam in medical training and in the media, are, as Bob Sears, M.D., puts it, “grossly inflated” (The Vaccine Book, p.121), and what this country doctor would say more plainly, are simply made up.

The scientific evidence does not support having a yearly flu vaccine

I contacted the chair of the committee that was recommending flu vaccine mandates at my work and asked him to share the scientific evidence that mandating flu vaccines for health care workers actually reduces death rates from the flu.

He could not offer me a single article to read. I don’t know, he told me, adding that all the major health organizations recommend the flu vaccine and, “I trust them.”

Then he rattled off several major medical organizations recommending the flu vaccine, including the American Academy of PediatricsAmerican Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Heart Association.

So what does this bulldog do? I write them all, asking for a list of scientific studies supporting flu vaccine mandates and requesting the information that proves that mandating the vaccine for doctors and nurses contributes to better outcomes.

Some ignored me but some responded. They all said the same thing: That they didn’t have the information I’d requested! One prominent organization recommended I contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes for Health (NIH), as they based their recommendations off the CDC’s and the NIH’s.

So none of the leading health organizations shaping public health policy has scientific information to support the policy to mandate the flu vaccine?

How can this be?

I had three young children and worked full time. But I wanted to read the science for myself to find out if what I was noticing clinically—with my own health, my family’s, as well as with my patients’—was valid. As helpful and important as vaccines may be, the flu vaccine recommendation left me with more questions than answers. Since none of the organizations insisting on the necessity of the flu vaccine could provide me with direct information, I went searching for it myself.

I will put it to you that any conventionally trained medical doctor who is willing to impartially research the science behind the influenza vaccine safety, efficacy, and necessity is in for a surprise.

The best place to start a search for accurate medical information is usually the Cochrane database.

Cochrane is a non-profit research organization based in the United Kingdom and they tend to be considered the gold standard in scientific medical research. Their reviews of the medical literature are comprehensive and carefully peer-reviewed.

As my colleague, Mark Hyman, M.D., explains in an article, Flu Shot: Harmful or Helpful?: “One very reliable way to determine the effectiveness of the flu shot is to look at the database analysis presented by The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group of scientists who have no link to any industry or government agencies.”

So what does Cochrane have to say about the flu vaccine?

  • It’s not effective for children under age 18 or for adults over 65.
  • Between ages 18 to 65, it is only 30-50% effective in an average year (which means it fails between 50-70% of the time) and up to 80% in a perfectly matched year (a much lower number than most vaccines).
  • There is no decrease in flu transmission rate or hospitalization rate for people who have gotten the flu vaccine.

Ut oh.

Here is the Cochrane review’s results and conclusions so you can read them yourself:

MAIN RESULTS: We included 50 reports. Forty (59 sub-studies) were clinical trials of over 70,000 people. Eight were comparative non-RCTs and assessed serious harms. Two were reports of harms which could not be introduced in the data analysis. In the relatively uncommon circumstance of vaccine matching the viral circulating strain and high circulation, 4% of unvaccinated people versus 1% of vaccinated people developed influenza symptoms (risk difference (RD) 3%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2% to 5%). The corresponding figures for poor vaccine matching were 2% and 1% (RD 1, 95% CI 0% to 3%). These differences were not likely to be due to chance. Vaccination had a modest effect on time off work and had no effect on hospital admissions or complication rates. Inactivated vaccines caused local harms and an estimated 1.6 additional cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome per million vaccinations. The harms evidence base is limited.

AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: 

Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission. WARNING: This review includes 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration). An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines. The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding.

In Dr. Hyman’s words: “After analyzing all of the data on the flu shot, they have concluded that it really doesn’t work well. It doesn’t even cover most of the influenza infections that people get.”

Dr. Hyman concludes that the majority of Americans do not need a flu vaccine. He explains the science behind his conclusion here.

I also found a 126-page analysis by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP). Among the key findings of this 2012 analysis (in the researchers’ own words):

  • Influenza vaccine protection is markedly lower than for most routinely recommended vaccines and is suboptimal.
  • CDC recommendations about the flu vaccine over the past 30 years have not been based on scientifically sound data.

I shared the results of my research with colleagues. They were stunned. Just stunned. I also wrote back to the committee member who wasn’t aware of this data to let him know that there is no scientific data to support mandating flu vaccines.

And since those studies have been published, flu vaccine efficacy rates have hit new lows.

In 2014-2015 the flu vaccine was only 19% effective.

This year FluMist, the nasal spray influenza vaccine, is no longer recommended.

Why? Because it doesn’t work at all.

In the words of the CDC, “no protective benefit could be measured.”

Oops.

The CDC tells me personally that the flu vaccine doesn’t work

Dr. Mark Hyman practices functional medicine. Like integrative medicine, functional medicine seeks to individualize medical treatment, identify and treat the root causes of illness and disease, and help the body heal itself through lifestyle and nutritional intervention, not just pharmaceutical products.

At a functional medicine conference, I happened to be seated at lunch beside a lovely CDC senior medical official. She was there to learn more about functional medicine.

She was super nice and, of course, I couldn’t help but be excited that I was sitting next to gold. Or so I thought.

Our conversation went like this:

Dr. Benton: So, what do you think about the flu vaccine?

Dr. CDC: It’s a good thing. A wonderful intervention. Everyone needs one. Absolutely.

Dr. Benton: Have you looked into the recent science?

Dr. CDC: Of course. So good to see our ideas confirmed—it’s a safe, efficacious vaccination that seems to cause few, if any, side effects.

Dr. Benton: So you’ve read these studies yourself?

Dr. CDC: [Hesitating. Silent. Long pause.] Well, actually, I haven’t . . . 

So I jumped in. I told her all about the Cochrane review.

Her. Jaw. Dropped.

Yep.

She, a senior CDC medical official, did not have a clue.

In all fairness, just because you work at the CDC, should you really know all the most recently published studies about all vaccines?

I don’t think so. And to her credit, she was interested and engaged and listened with an open mind.

She told me I needed to talk directly to the influenza division of the CDC.

So this small town country doctor made an appointment with the medical director of the influenza division of the CDC.

With sweaty palms and racing heart, I made the phone call at the appointed time.

I introduced myself and proceeded to go over the data about the flu vaccine, including that per the national vital statistics on the CDC website, that there are only about 1,000 deaths out of over 300 million people from the flu.

After each factoid I mentioned, the CDC director just said, “Yep.”

Befuddled, I got to the end of my list of concerns, wiped my palms on my skirt, and asked, “Rebuttal?”

She said she didn’t have one!

In fact, she said, there will never be a good flu vaccine because there are over 200 different viruses that cause influenza and influenza-like symptoms and vaccine manufacturers have to guess a year in advance for the strain of flu that might be in circulation that coming year.

Like meteorologists predicting the weather, sometimes vaccine scientists are pretty accurate, sometimes they are dead wrong.

So I asked her why our government is pushing flu mandates across the country.

She denied that the CDC was recommending mandates, and admitted there is simply not enough science to justify mandating the flu vaccine. All of these hospital, school, and company policies, she insisted, were outside of the purview of the CDC.

I reminded her the CDC shapes public policy by recommending vaccines and that medical professionals were being fired across the country for refusing the flu vaccine.

She said she disagreed with that practice.

And there you have it.

The smart doctors who work inside the CDC know the flu shot isn’t working. And they probably don’t get flu shots either.

Big pharma pushes for flu mandates, smart doctors push back

Why this ridiculous push for a vaccine that doesn’t work, that prompted more government pay-outs because of adverse events, including death, than any other vaccine in 2017 so far, and that also contains ingredients analyzed by CDC scientists and found, in a recent peer-reviewed paper, to be highly neurotoxic?

Could it be the bonuses that insurance companies pay to medical groups for flu vaccine compliance among their staff and their patients?

Could it be the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to politicians by the powerful pharmaceutical lobby?

In an 8-year period donations by pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines given to the American Academy of Pediatricians exceeded 9.4 million dollars (The Business of Baby, p. 223).

Smart doctors tell their patients the truth.

Smart doctors give their patients all the information they need to make an informed decision about what is in the best interests of their health.

Smart doctors tell their patients the risks of the vaccine, the benefits of the vaccine, and the alternatives to vaccination.

The best alternative, in this doctor’s assessment, is not to get a flu vaccine.

What I would do . . . Get some Elderberry Syrup

~ Dr. Cammy Benton

Dr. Benton is a family doctor who, through a series of personal issues, stumbled upon a more fun way of approaching medicine. Her first goal is to improve the health of herself and her family through nutrition and lifestyle. Then she loves sharing what she is learning through trial and error at home but also through formal training in Functional Medicine and Ayurveda. Her goal is to teach people how to take care of themselves and minimize need for Western Medicine because real prevention comes from nutrition, lifestyle, spirituality, healing the gut, and happiness.  Let’s fix what we can and then use Western medicine when appropriate.  

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29 Responses to Why Smart Doctors Don’t Get Flu Shots

  1. Hans Litten says:

    https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/harris-refuses-to-rule-out-introducing-mandatory-vaccines-for-health-staff-36301494.html

    Health Minister Simon Harris has refused to rule out introducing a system of compulsory vaccines for health workers.
    Speaking at the launch of the Government’s ‘Winter Ready’ campaign, Mr Harris said the take-up of such vaccines among nurses is particularly low.
    The Wicklow TD said this is in stark contrasts to doctors, who receive the vaccine in high numbers.
    Mr Harris told reporters that he is optimistic that there will be uptake in the vaccine among healthcare workers.
    But he refused to rule out making it mandatory.
    “I’d rather not have to, quite frankly. But I do have an open mind in relation to that,” Mr Harris said.
    “The uptake varies across healthcare professionals. Doctors have quite a high uptake traditionally. Nurses have had a very low uptake. So there’s urgency in the message that our nurses have to get vaccinated this year,” he added.

  2. Hans Litten says:

    Vaccine industry in panic as scientific study solves the riddle of why flu shots don’t work

    https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-11-01-vaccine-industry-in-panic-as-scientific-study-solves-riddle-why-flu-shots-dont-work-immunization.html

    The insert sheet readily admits:
    …there have been no controlled trials adequately demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with FLULAVAL.

    There’s even more. If you keep reading the FLULAVAL insert, it says in black and white text, “Safety and effectiveness of FLULAVAL in pediatric patients have not been established.”
    The same insert also says, “FLULAVAL has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility.”

  3. Mandy Dasinger says:

    This is a wonderful expose on the flu vaccine and the chaos that ensues when people don’t do their own homework for their health. At this point a class action law suit isn’t even possible because of the sheer numbers of the vaccine injured. When in the world did we start thinking it was OK to hand that kind of responsibility and power off to a 7 minute conversation with an exclusively pharma educated doctor? We bear the consequences and we should fight for the right to read, learn, think and decide for ourselves.

  4. Karl says:

    The woo is strong with this one.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I’m sorry, but that’s one of the most idiotic comments I’ve yet to see on this website. This post is filled with scientific sources, extensively quotes the Cochrane Collaboration which is widely acknowledged to be the most unbiased source of medical science in the world, as well as two officials from the CDC (albeit, off-the-record) and your comment is about “woo”?

      I guess science only counts as science if it supports your preconceived notions, otherwise it’s “woo.” I have news for you: science isn’t science in that case; it’s religion, which makes it you that “the woo is strong with.”

    • Hans Litten says:

      Make sure to get your flu vax Karl. This year and every year.
      We know nothing and are all completely wrong.

  5. Anon says:

    Off topic, sorry…

    Have you heard about this?
    Resignation syndrome: Sweden’s mystery illness
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-41748485

    Apparently it ONLY occurs in Sweden, in Migrant/Immigrant Children. Me, I am wondering how many vaccines these children have had (of course ONLY to bring them up to date), and
    am wondering..
    Is there something in Sweden’s vaccines not in other vaccines? mmm

  6. Hans Litten says:

    Introducing the New Shingles Vaccine from Global Slow Kill GSK :

    https://hsionline.com/2017/10/25/dont-be-a-guinea-pig-for-this-risky-new-shingles-shot/
    Researchers have been fiddling around with QS-21 for decades now, attempting to come up with a safe way to use it. As recently as two years ago, scientists at the National Institutes of Health issued a full report on QS-21, telling how, although it functions as a very “potent” adjuvant, its “toxicity” was keeping it from “human use.” 
    The researchers go on to describe how, in one study on sheep, a low dose of QS-21 caused red blood cells to actually self-destruct. But get this — doses that are one-tenth what’s been put into Shingrix have been found to be toxic! 

  7. Hans Litten says:

    http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/nurses-continue-be-justified-refusing-mandatory-flu-shots

    Nurses Continue to be Justified in Refusing Mandatory Flu Shots

  8. Doc says:

    I never recommend vaccines to my patients unless they are traveling to a foreign country in the midst of a typhoid or cholera epidemic. In America, which has good water, not from the tap, sanitation and no overcrowding and an occasional antibiotic if absolutely necessary, it is a detriment to ones health and clearly creates many problems as witnessed by the presence of a Vaccine Injury Fund. It has paid out almost $4 billion to date.

    • Hans Litten says:

      The US has good water ? really
      Yeah about as good as the Nazi Fluoride dosed water in the Republic of Ireland . Same in AussieLand and NZ – all with added Fluoride !
      Just like the C-camps in 1939 – 45

      And don’t even get me started in the Chromium6 scandals (Flint) .

  9. Anon says:

    Thank you. It is a struggle, more and more, for those of us who question and research.

    I appreciate your article, your research, your info. Mostly I appreciate your willingness to be public about your knowledge/experiences/research.

    Years ago a walk in clinic I used occasionally had a new woman Dr, whom I ended up seeing. She had moved to this city from across the country. Cant recall now what I was seeing her for, it was nothing “big”. However I pleasantly and politely got the spiel from her how I should do this/have that/get such and such. And was urged to settle on an actual permanent personal Dr, as that made it easier for me (them) to keep track etc etc.. Although I was irked about this “spiel” there was something very pleasant about her, so I asked her “who is your Dr, and are they taking patients?”.

    At first I was a bit shocked at her answer. Then I had to carefully control my expression, and leave as soon as possible. I didn’t want to upset her spiel by my hysterical laughter ….

    oh…her reply when I asked who her Dr was etc??? (you gotta love this, after her pushing MANY procedures/tests etc).

    “Oh, I never go to a “regular” Dr. I only go to natural paths and such.”

  10. Victoria J West says:

    On one front we are seeing doctors coming out about being lied to and financially compensated for prescribing opiates and their eyes are opening. Doctors are also not administering or even recommending vaccines anymore once they have seen the adverse effects, ALSO citing they have been lied to and receive bonuses for distribution. It is not hard to see the purveyors of both are the same beast. Thinking people know the M.O. of pharma is the same. It is a product they must move, not a device for public health. In both cases, death or destruction of the recipient is a byproduct. Time to pull the plug.

  11. Leesa says:

    Love reading well researched information like this. THANKYOU

  12. Leah says:

    Excellent article, thank you so much for posting. My mum got the flu shot this year and once again got really sick almost immediately, Her whole body was in pain. She knows better than to have taken it as she has become sick from it in the past but the sadly, the pressure from her doctor, whom she trusts blindly, was too great.

  13. Barbara Hill says:

    Thank you! I posted about my experience as a cancer patient who refused vaccine.
    I never get the flu, have never been vaccinated, work full time with the public(mostly children) and I am 71 years old.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESEARCH
    (and bravely sharing it!)

  14. a. says:

    Really good! I wish you were my doctor. Thank you for speaking out.

  15. Shawn Siegel says:

    There are no benefits to the vaccine. None.

    Influenza occurs when the body needs it – it’s a program of detox, a remarkably efficient, gracious process of elimination of infection, cleanse and return to homeostasis, or wellness. Indeed, describing vaccination as an effort to prevent a gracious process of natural detox clarifies how futile and self-defeating is the paradigm. 😉

    The best way to avoid the flu, then, is to not need it. Eat right, sleep right, laugh right and avoid toxins, the most intimate and egregious of which are vaccines.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I’ve only had the flu twice. And the second time I remember welcoming the fever, feeling like it was burning off so much crap in my system.

  16. Hans Litten says:

    http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/nurses-continue-be-justified-refusing-mandatory-flu-shots

    Responding to nurses who exert their science-based vaccination choice, hospitals have used both heavy-handed public shaming and coercion tactics of making them wear masks. Every year, scores of images populate social media feeds showing nurses wearing masks forced upon them during their hospital shifts because they refused their flu shots. A popular mainstream message is that we must all get our flu shots to protect the elderly who may die from the flu or its complications. Yet, however ‘caring’ this PR strategy may appear, we should occasionally look at the results.

    What does it say about the infallibility of the ‘safe and effective’ vaccine narrative when those working within the very system that delivers the shots are refusing to take them themselves? Is it because nurses see vaccine injuries firsthand? Are the nurses, or anyone else, justified in refusing the flu shot?

  17. Suzanne says:

    Why doesn’t this information appear on national news feeds? The CDC needs to be honest with the public.

  18. Hans Litten says:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/09/26/nurses-union-files-suit-against-brigham-over-vaccine-requirement/MDdvpoujDRdraF3TyiSzaK/story.html

    The Massachusetts Nurses Association is again suing Brigham and Women’s Hospital to try to block a policy that requires employees to receive flu vaccines.

    The Brigham notified 18,000 employees last week about the new policy, which mandates that all workers be vaccinated annually, with exceptions for medical or religious reasons. Employees who go without the flu shot must wear face masks when they’re around patients.

  19. Hans Litten says:

    Vaccination rates were below 10% in Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan – The smartest nurses in Ireland .

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/concern-over-low-uptake-of-flu-vaccine-by-healthcare-workers-419170.html

    A survey by the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre has revealed that just over one in five of all healthcare staff in such facilities availed of a free flu vaccination last year.
    Results from 50 of the largest hospitals in the country showed the overall uptake was 22.5% of medical staff last winter. It represents a slight improvement on the vaccination rate of 21.3% recorded in 2014.
    Average uptake levels among similar staff in the UK was over 50% during the same period. In the US, vaccination levels reached over 66%. Healthcare workers in only seven Irish hospitals — 14% of the total surveyed — achieved the target vaccination rate of 40%.
    The lowest flu vaccination rate across all hospitals was among nursing staff at 16.7%. The highest rate was among medical and dental professionals at 38.2%.
    Vaccination rates were below 10% in Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan; the Mid- West Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick; Monaghan General Hospital and Lourdes Orthopaedic Hospital, Kilkenny. The highest uptake levels were recorded in Children’s University Hospital in Temple Street, Dublin, at 47%. Others with rates over 40% were the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght; the Coombe Maternity Hospital; Beaumont Hospital; Rotunda Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital, and the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire.

    Overall uptake levels in long-term care facilities like nursing homes were slightly higher than in hospitals at 26.6% — down from 28.1% in 2014. Almost 1 in 5 such healthcare centres reached the 40% target vaccination rate among its staff.
    The survey of long-term care facilities also showed varying regional differences with uptake highest in north Dublin at 48.1%.
    However, it fell as low as 15.2% in the South-East.
    Like in hospitals, the highest uptake was among medical and dental professionals and the lowest among nursing staff.
    Among certain vulnerable groups which the HSE and the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland recommend should receive the annual seasonal flu vaccine are frontline healthcare workers. Others including those over 65 years, pregnant women, people who are morbidly obese as well as those with specified chronical medical conditions and occupational groups such as people who work with poultry, wild fowl, and pigs.
    “Due to the nature of their work and regular and close contact with patients, the risk of infection to healthcare workers is high, who in turn can easily transmit influenza to other non- infected patients”, according to the HPSC, which is the specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases in Ireland. It claims that for this reason the seasonal flu vaccination is an important infection control measure.
    All healthcare facilities are provided with doses of the flu vaccine free of charge by the HSE. Implementation of the vaccine programme, is usually organised by the management of the healthcare facility. The HPSC said a sharp reduction in influenza-related outbreaks in hospitals and long-term care facilities this year was unlikely to be attributable to staff vaccine uptake.

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