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Just about everyone gets vaccinated for something at some point in his or her life. A quick shot or nasal spray, and we are much more likely to be immune to a disease. It’s good for us – we don’t get sick. It’s good for those around us – if we’re not sick, we don’t get other people sick. Vaccinations are a no-brainer.
For healthcare workers, it’s especially important to keep current with vaccinations. After all, the nature of the job means daily exposure to people who are sick. Not surprisingly, healthcare workers who aren’t vaccinated against things like influenza are significantly more likely to get sick than the general population.
There’s a second pressing reason to stay current though, patients. Healthcare workers are often working with people with compromised immune systems. Those who are already sick or are elderly are not as apt to fend off disease as a younger, healthier person. It’s not uncommon for healthcare workers to pass preventable diseases to their patients.
For healthcare workers, there are three categories of vaccines to consider:
All Adults: Tetanus, diphtheria and pneumococcal disease
All Healthcare Workers: Hepatitis B, Influenza, varicella (Chicken Pox) and measles, mumps, rubella (MMR).
Some Healthcare Workers: Tuberculosis, hepatitis A, meningococcal disease, typhoid fever, vaccinia (Small Pox) and pertussis (Whooping Cough).
Being properly vaccinated benefits everyone. It helps keep you and your patients from experiencing unnecessary illness and it helps to keep staffing levels up at your healthcare facility.
Check with your administration and see if you are working in an area where you should be getting additional vaccines to keep you safe and make sure you always take advantage of the free vaccines offered by your employer. No one likes being sick, so keep yourself and those around you healthy this year.
Indiana Department of Labor