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I was reading a New York Times article this moring about the State of New York’s recent mandate that all healthcare workers receive the swine flu vaccine.

It was shocking to learn that hospitals incent healthcare workers to get vaccines by offering them time off work or the chance to win a vacation or holiday trip. It reminds me of parents offering their children ice cream if only they eat their broccoli.

It’s probably more appropriate in a non-paternalistic state to offer healthcare workers good reasons to have the shots than to offer them bribes.  Good reasons would include: 1)  evidence that the shot is necessary (meaning that we have good reason to believe that this strain of flu is particularly dangerous or virulent),  2) evidence that the shots are effective, and 3) evidence that the shots have been adequately tested and are safe.

The article also says that workers who decline vaccines even when they are “voluntary” are often punished by having notes concerning their noncompliance with the vaccine recommendations put into their personnel file or else they are forced to wear face masks at all times.

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