Unvaccinated healthcare workers risk patients’ lives: DAK

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SRINAGAR: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Friday said that unvaccinated healthcare workers approaching patients for treatment instead put their lives at risk as the flu season has set in.

With the scare of swine flu looming over the valley, health authorities have failed to provide free vaccines to healthcare workers.

President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan said that unvaccinated doctors, nurses and other workers in healthcare are risking lives of patients who are vulnerable to flu related complications and deaths.

“If doctors or nurses get flu they can pass it to hundreds of patients they come into contact with each day,” he said. “Many of whom have conditions that render them more susceptible to infection.”

“Studies have shown that low vaccination rates among healthcare workers lead to institutional and community outbreaks and medical literature convincingly demonstrates that high levels of staff immunity confer protection on those patients who cannot or have not been vaccinated.

Influenza can disrupt continuity of care and vaccination of healthcare workers reduces influenza infection,” Dr Nisar said.

“Healthcare workers have a responsibility to protect their own health and well-being to ensure availability of care,” he said. “They have a duty not to harm a patient when they know there is a significant risk of harm through infection.”

He said it was unethical to leave healthcare workers unimmunized as it endangers public health.“During previous flu season majority of healthcare workers were unvaccinated which was responsible for H1N1 outbreak in the valley,” he said.

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