The Herald editorial:
It beggars belief that any nurses employed in public hospitals would be allowed to decline vaccinations against winter flu. It strains credibility further to hear these nurses complain they are obliged to wear face masks in the wards. And it is nothing short of disgraceful their national union, supported by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, backs them up.
The flu is not chicken pox. People die from the flu. Lots of people. Why would a hospital worker not want a free flu vaccine?
Plenty of people outside the public health services decline flu vaccines, even when provided free in workplaces. This is a free country and people are free to make unhealthy decisions for themselves, even when their decision reduces the immunity that can be provided for the community. The best health authorities can do is to promote and practise good sense, based on medical research.
Nurses and other health professionals are also free to question the wisdom of immunisation or any other medical practices if they wish, but if so they should look for a job with an alternative provider.
If you accept a job in a hsopital working with sick people who are especially vulnerable to illnesses such as influenza, then you lose discretion over whether or not to have a vaccine. Just as if you accept a job as a teacher, you may have a dress code to comply with.
And Waikato DHB hasn’t even made it compulsory. They’ve just said wear a mask, if you won’t get one – and you work in clinical areas.