Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The lunacy continues

It appears that an increasing number of hospitals are requiring healthcare workers that are not vaccinated against influenza to wear masks (see a recent example here). I have yet to see any evidence to support such a policy, and I'm not even sure of the purported intent (is it to prevent infection of the unvaccinated HCW, or is it to prevent the infected HCW from transmitting to patients?).

Whatever the intent, it seems completely impractical. Wearing a mask for 8-12 hours is uncomfortable and an unnecessary distraction. I suspect it also impacts morale. So none of this makes sense to me, but neither does mandatory influenza vaccination.

Last week, the Massachusetts Nurses Association characterized the mask policy as an act of bullying. That's a strong word, but after thinking this over, I admit that I have to agree. I don't think the mask requirement has been promulgated to reduce transmission of influenza; rather, I suspect it's to punish those who don't comply with vaccination. So here we have a mandate that doesn't make sense, aimed at those who don't comply with another mandate that doesn't make sense. And the lunacy continues....

Photo:  3M

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