Could a mandatory flu shot raise rates of vaccination among adults?

Healthy adults, especially those with pre-existing conditions, may need to get vaccinated against 12 diseases. But these diseases vary greatly and not all vaccinations are required. Some experts argue that if every health care…

Could a mandatory flu shot raise rates of vaccination among adults?

Healthy adults, especially those with pre-existing conditions, may need to get vaccinated against 12 diseases. But these diseases vary greatly and not all vaccinations are required.

Some experts argue that if every health care worker got his or her shots, it would add up to, per year, more than 400,000 potential cases of diseases far less deadly than the enterovirus D68, which killed eight people in California in 2016.

On Tuesday, the Commission on Safety of Vaccine Administration (CSAVA) is holding a hearing in Washington, DC. This new CSAVA working group is examining issues related to vaccine boosters, including whether those shots should be required for certain reasons. Dr. Eileen Keefe, who chaired the CSAVA’s vaccine booster working group, said those issues have long been a concern among some health experts, but also new to the public.

Keefe said that at the hearing, the CSAVA will look at several questions, including:

What can vaccines do that no other medical device can?

Can vaccines make us happier?

Does enough information exist for them to make a difference?

If you come down with a cold, do you get yourself a Tylenol or a Tamiflu?

If you come down with a stomach flu, is it important to get your cold or flu shot?

There is a mix of experts at the CSAVA, and some of them are skeptical about mandatory vaccinations. Some experts say that while public health efforts to combat global infectious disease outbreaks may be successful, there is no evidence that vaccinating everyone every time they get sick is a good idea.

One, Richard Ostfeld, a senior scientist at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, told CNN that mandatory vaccines threaten what he calls “low-hanging fruit” — those who already are too sick to be vaccinated.

Ostfeld says more people should make sure they get their vaccines and that “the conflicts between risk and convenience need to be addressed.” He adds that a 2018 analysis by the Associated Press found that mandating vaccinations had no effect on rates of vaccinations.

For now, these health officials recommend that most healthy adults get two to three doses of each vaccine, depending on age and health history.

When you watch the video above, also watch the “Could you risk your children for the flu shot?” portion.

Leave a Comment