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Wisconsin Pediatricians Say Eliminating Mandatory Flu Vaccine Programs Would Put Children at Risk


The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics urges opposition to proposed legislation that would limit employer mandatory flu vaccine programs. The bill, numbered LRB 0020/1 and currently being considered for co-sponsorship, provides for a “personal exemption” from any mandated flu vaccination required by an employer. Medical providers are expressing grave concerns over the proposed measure’s impact on the health of children.

Kimberly, WI, May 23, 2013 --(PR.com)-- The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) (http://WIAAP.org) today announced its opposition to proposed legislation that would limit employer mandatory flu vaccine programs. The bill, numbered LRB 0020/1 and currently being considered for co-sponsorship, provides for a “personal exemption” from any mandated flu vaccination required by an employer. Medical providers are expressing grave concerns over the proposed measure’s impact on the health of children.

James Conway, MD, FAAP, chair of the WIAAP committee on Infectious Disease and Immunization, says, “This is a care and safety issue. It is our job to protect our most vulnerable patients – young infants and those with compromised immune systems, because they are at the highest risk for exposure and significant disease.” The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that of the 105 children who have died from influenza this flu season, 90% had not been vaccinated.

In a 2010 policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, mandatory influenza immunization for all health care personnel is described as “…ethically justified, necessary and long overdue to ensure patient safety.” The CDC estimates from three decades’ worth of data that the annual death toll from seasonal flu has ranged anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 individuals.

WIAAP also opposes any provision for wearing a mask as a substitution for vaccination. “Allowing workers who decline to be immunized to wear masks instead, implies that it is acceptable not to be vaccinated. It is not particularly successful at preventing the spread of disease,” Dr. Conway added. “Those who refuse to make this simple effort to protect their patients are not optimal care providers and should be shifted into non-patient care responsibilities.”

Svapna Sabnis, MD FAAP, agrees. “Protecting children through vaccination is helpful, but we need to remember how many children cannot be immunized or will not respond. The adults in their lives must do everything possible to prevent an infection with serious, even deadly consequences.” Dr. Sabnis, along with Margaret Hennessy, MD, FAAP, are also members of the WIAAP’s committee on Infectious Disease and Immunization. Dr. Hennessy said, “Systems mandating flu vaccination have healthier workforces and healthier patients. This isn’t a freedom of decision question. It’s a decision to ensure that kids don’t contract the flu from anyone, especially any adult caring for them.”

Comprising nearly 1,000 members and a part of the American Academy of Pediatrics (http://www.aap.org) WIAAP works to assure optimal health and safety for Wisconsin’s children and their families through advocacy and collaboration with child interest groups. WIAAP supports Wisconsin pediatricians, enabling them to continue to be the most effective providers of health care to children. The American Academy of Pediatrics is committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Sources
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Position Statement
Recommendation for Mandatory Influenza Immunization of All Health Care Personnel
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/4/809.full.html

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
CDC Reports About 90 Percent of Children Who Died From Flu This Season Not Vaccinated
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/children-flu-deaths.htm

Expert Contacts Available For Interviews:
James Conway, MD, FAAP
Chair, WIAAP Infectious Disease and Immunization committee
jhconway@pediatrics.wisc.edu 608.265.6020
Info: http://www.uwhealth.org/findadoctor/profile/james-h-conway-md/5759
Note: Dr. Conway is out of the country until June 2013 but is available by limited email access.

Margaret Hennessy, MD, FAAP
WIAAP Infectious Disease and Immunization committee
Margaret.Hennessy@wfhc.org 262.687.8282
Info: http://www.mywheaton.org/hennessy

Svapna Sabnis, MD, FAAP
WIAAP Infectious Disease and Immunization committee
ssabnis@mcw.edu 414.277.8900
Info: http://www.chw.org/Applications/PPF/DocID/20023/CredentialingID/1175/PhysHomePage.asp
Contact Information
Wisconsin Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Kia LaBracke
262-490-9075
Contact
www.wiaap.org
563 Carter Court, Suite B
Kimberly, WI 54136
Attached Files
Frequently Asked Questions: Proposed Bill LRB 0020/1
The narrative of LRB 0020/01 cites statistics and statements requiring factual clarification. This FAQ, issued by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) addresses the concerns.
Filename: 2013May22FAQProposedBillonInf.pdf
WIAAP Position Statement: Recommendation for Mandatory Influenza Immunization of All Health Care Personnel
The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) holds a position statement supporting mandatory immunization of Health Care Personnel against influenza as we have an ethical responsibility to protect vulnerable patients.
Filename: 2013May22RecommendationforMan.pdf

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