[back] Swine flu vaccine  Medical people and their own medicine

30% of nurses 'don't want' flu jab



A poll has found that almost one in three nurses do not want the swine flu jab over fears about its safety and a perception that the flu is mild.

The poll of almost 1,500 readers of the Nursing Times found that many would reject the vaccine.

The jab is to be given to people in high-risk groups, such as those with asthma or diabetes, as well as health workers like GPs and nurses.

Some 91% of those who responded to the survey described themselves as frontline nurses. When asked if they would have the vaccine, 30% of those surveyed said no, while 37% said yes and 33% said maybe.

Of those who said they would refuse the jab, 60% said their main reason was concern about the safety of the vaccine.

A further 31% said they did not consider the risks to their health from swine flu to be great enough, while 9% thought they would not be able to take time off work to get immunised.

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

Another who had not made up their mind whether to have the jab, said: "I have had the seasonal flu vaccination three times and on each occasion was very poorly for several days afterwards. It can give you flu-like symptoms, which in my case were bad enough to put me in my bed."

Professor David Salisbury, the Department of Health's director of immunisation 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."

The survey comes after health chiefs said doctors should watch out for cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome when the vaccine is introduced in October. The syndrome, which affects around 1,500 people a year in the UK, attacks the nervous system and can result in temporary paralysis.