Would Health Workers Reject the Swine Flu Vaccine?

According to a study that polled over 2000 Hong Kong health workers, about half would refuse the swine flu vaccine.  Those who would pass on the vaccine say they are concerned about potential side effects.  So far, the effects have been mild, such as soreness at the injection site.

It is unlikely any rare side effects will pop up until the vaccine is given to millions. That might include things like Guillain-Barre syndrome, a temporary paralyzing disorder, which was seen after the 1976 swine flu vaccination campaign, and happens fewer than once every 1 million vaccinations.

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong surveyed doctors and nurses in public hospitals this year from January to May, asking them if they would get a pandemic vaccine based either on bird flu or swine flu. About 35 percent of health workers were willing to get a bird flu vaccine, versus 48 percent for swine flu.

Experts were surprised so few of Hong Kong’s health workers were willing to be vaccinated, since the city was hit hard during the 2003 outbreak of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

Paul Chan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, one of the study authors, thought the results would be similar elsewhere. Fewer than 60 percent of health workers in most countries get vaccinated against regular flu, thought to be a reliable indicator of whether they might get a swine flu shot. In the U.S., about 35 percent of health workers get a regular flu shot, while in Britain, only about 17 percent do.

Annas said health workers were ultimately like everyone else when it comes to getting vaccines. “Like the lay population, they assume they won’t need the shot because they don’t think they will get the flu.”

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Happy Friday!

Confirmed cases are now at 331.

Hong Kong and Denmark have their first cases of confirmed swine flu.

Mexico is beginning their 5 day shutdown in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a real-life version of 28 Days Later, mainly due to the terminology: confirmed cases, shutdowns, confinement, PHASE 5,  etc. but without the zombies.

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