Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Should Child Care Employees Be Required to Get Flu Vaccines?

Salt Lake City Vaccinates 4,000 Seniors

I learned a few weeks ago that medical staff at some hospitals are being required to get flu vaccinations. On one level this makes absolute perfect sense to me... hospital workers come in contact with thousands of people each day. Doesn't getting the vaccine prevent the hospital workers from potentially contaminating all of the people they come into contact with each day? Won't having the vaccine protect the hospital workers from the hundreds of people who drag themselves to the ER with the flu?

We require children to get shots before they enter school - for their protection and for the protection of others... isn't this the same principal? What if you need emergency care at the local hospital and the hospital is shut down because most of the doctors, nurses, and technicians are home recovering from the flu? Some hospitals are even changing their visitor policies, preventing children under 18 from being in the hospital unless they are a patient. Have we gone too far?

So I began to think about our field of early childhood... should child care providers be required to get flu vaccinations? What about those caregivers who specifically work with infants younger than six months? These infants, who are too young to get a flu vaccination, are at great risk if an unimmunized caregiver exposes him or her to the flu virus.

I'd like to know what you think: Should childcare employees be required to get the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines? If so, who should pay for the vaccine - the employee or the employer?

Here are some recent news stories about Child Care environments and the Flu:
Flu Resources for Early Childhood Programs:


  1. That is a tough call. You certainly don't want medical personal spreading H1N1, nor do you want child care providers to do it as well. But it's a tough call on requiring people to vaccinate themselves on something they are unsure of.


  2. Thanks for your reply Tiffany. I agree with you. It is a atough call. On the one hand, it makes sense for health care and child care workers to be vaccinated. On the other hand, many people have strong feelings about why they choose not to get the vaccines and shouldn't they have a right to make that choice? Like you said, tough choice!

  3. When one takes on the role of a caregiver and is paid for that role, then there is a professional responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the children in his or her care.

    Preventing the spread of a virus such as H1N1 is a top priority - especially since young children are noted to be exceptionally vulnerable to the virus.

    Childcare givers have the responsibilty to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the children in their care first and foremost.

    I would say, if there is a medical reason that prevents a childcare worker from taking the vaccine, then that is different. But if the vaccine can help keep young children from getting sick, then by all means, get vaccinated.

  4. Thanks for weighing in Deborah. It's hard for me to think of a reason for child care providers not to get vaccinated (except for medical reasons or religious objections). I understand the desire for personal choice but there are many vaccines that we have to get in order to keep our society healthy. What makes this one any different. It's a tough argument so I appreciate your opinion!

  5. I hope that one of the medical exceptions would be an allergy to the shot. I'm allergic to eggs. Most vaccines are grown in eggs. Therefore, it's actually dangerous for someone like me to have those shots (H1N1, flu, pneumonia, etc....). I also live with Rhuem. Arthritis (an autoimmune disorder) which means I'm already compromised, a vaccine like that could make my situation worse. Especially since I'm an asthmatic. Are folks sure that want to put me at risk for with the shot(s). I am a stickler for good handwashing practices and I practice them in my classroom. We are the highest consumers of paper towels/handwashing soap in the entire school. Absences in my classroom have been from ear/sinus infections or children suffering asthma issues. If the teacher in the classroom/the site are practicing safe health practices-the shot is not going to make a difference. Think back to the onset of the varacella vac. (chicken pox shot). To this day, I do not know of any child who has received the shot who has not had the chicken pox. But that shot was touted as being the preventative measure extradinaire. It didn't stop the chicken pox or the spread of the chicken pox.
    Now, other staff workers I work with went to the "flu clinic" to get their shots, the next day...nearly all of them complained of not feeling well, having headaches, aches/pains, etc..There is not "clear" evidence that the shots prevent H1N1, I got it in the late 70's-I was lucky, I survived. No one could ever convince me of doing it again. My doctor, actually says I shouldn't have it. No one should ever be forced to be vaccinated/as a requisite of their employ. If I start to feel sick..I'll go straight to the doctor, not put anyone I work with (adults/children) at risk of anything and especially not go to work sick.

  6. I have taught preschool for 19 years. I get the flu shot every year. My employer does not require it. I just get as to keep me from getting the flu and passing it on to my classes. I also am taking care of my elderly father so I don't want to carry it to him either. I pay for it myself. I am not sure it should be required.

  7. NO!!!! It should be the employee choice not a requirment. I am a healthy person who very rarely get sick. Beside the point, half of the parents sends their child to school when they know that they have a fever, running nose, and cough. So... If the parents took it serious when their child is sick then the child's class and those around the child would not have to get the flu shot.

  8. I get the flu shot every year, but I'm not so sure about the H1N1 vaccination. I have been doing quite a bit of research on the vaccination, the possible effects, and the contents (ingredients) of it. As of right now, I am not satisfied that the risks of getting the swine flu outweigh the risks of the vaccination. I am also not comfortable with some of the contents in the vaccine (google "H1N1 contents" - you'd be surprised with some of the things that are listed as ingredients in it). I think that anyone who takes a vaccine should be doing research before taking it - as for making it mandatory for employment - I recommend it, but do not require my employees take it. They, like anyone should have a choice - however, if they are sick they may not come to work.



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