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Only a third of nurses willing to have swine flu vaccine

Posted by ObeMike Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Frontline health and social care workers will be among the first to be vaccinated in October along with people with serious underlying health problems and pregnant women.

However a survey by Nursing Times has found many frontline nurses have reservations.

Almost 1,500 nurses were polled, of whom 91 per cent said they were frontline.

It comes after news that parents are also concerned about the vaccine, with worries predominantly about the safety of its contents, side effects, and the amount of testing that will be done.

Of the nurses who said they would not get vaccinated, 60 per cent said concern about the safety of the vaccine was the main reason.

A further 31 per cent said they did not consider the risks to their health from swine flu to be great enough, while nine per cent thought they would not be able to take time out of work to get immunised.

"I would not be willing to put myself at risk of, as yet, unknown long-term effects to facilitate a short-term solution," said one respondent.

A further respondent said: "I have yet to be convinced there is a genuine health risk (from swine flu) and it’s not just government propaganda."

Professor David Salisbury, the Department of Health’s director of immunisation, told Nursing Times it was unfortunate that nurses could ‘knowingly leave themselves at risk’.

He said: "They have a duty to themselves, they are at risk. They have a duty to their patients not to infect their patients and they have a duty to their families. I think you solve those responsibilities by being vaccinated."

With regards to safety concerns about the vaccines, he added: "The evidence that we’ve had is sufficient to persuade the regulators that these are vaccines that will be licensed."

Over two million frontline health and social care staff will be offered the vaccine in order to stop staff falling ill and being off work ill and also to prevent them from passing on the H1N1 vaccine or catching it from patients they will be treating.

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