IMA supports voluntary flu shots for physicians

Opposes mandatory vaccination and wearing tags to show who rolled up sleeve.

Doctors perform surgery [illustrative]. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Doctors perform surgery [illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While the Israel Medical Association encourages all of its members to voluntarily get flu shots, it has expressed its opposition to forcing physicians to do so or to require those who have been vaccinated to wear a green tag testifying to the fact that they have been immunized.
IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman and ethics chairman Dr. Tamar Karni wrote in a message to its members that forcing them to be vaccinated against the flu violated doctors’ “honor, choice, privacy and autonomy,” and that those lacking the green tag could be discriminated against. The IMA officials reiterated, however, that they recognized getting flu shots protected medical personnel against patients and patients from being infected by doctors.
Understanding and educating doctors about the importance of the shots was preferable to force, they wrote.
The IMA, however, will “protect any of its members against attempts to violate his rights in this matter,” they concluded.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone over the age of six months and is free from the four health services. There are reports from the Far East, which is exposed first to the virus, that this year’s flu will be stronger than in recent years.
In previous years, less than half the population have gone for vaccination. The result has been internal medicine and pediatric departments in hospitals being inundated with patients suffering from complications of the flu.
In an average winter, some 1,500 Israelis of all ages, not only those with chronic illness, have died from complications of the flu.