Swine flu: unvaccinated doctors putting patients at risk, says DAK

Swine flu: unvaccinated doctors putting patients at risk, says DAK

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Srinagar, Oct 24:  With Kashmir valley’s first swine flu death of this season reported at SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday in a communiqué said doctors, nurses and paramedical staff in hospitals are putting patients at risk as they are not vaccinated against swine flu.

President DAK and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan said healthcare workers imperil vulnerable patients by snubbing flu shots.

“Most of the doctors and nurses are unvaccinated, even though majority of swine flu deaths are in those with underlying medical conditions who are in regular contact with them,” he said. DAK President said healthcare workers have the potential to transmit flu to patients who are 5 to 35 times more likely to acquire the infection if exposed to infected staff.

“Patients entrust healthcare workers with their lives and clinicians should not be the ones to make them sick,” he added.

Dr Nisar said medical staff has a duty to take the flu jab, to ensure they don’t pass the infection to those who are already sick, adding there is a moral imperative for health institutions to ensure staff vaccination for patient safety.

“If the healthcare workers remain unvaccinated, the rest of the population might be even more challenging to rally,” he said. Dr Nisar said while vaccine is critically important to pregnant women, doctors are not offering flu jabs to expectant mothers putting them as well as their babies at risk.

He said a pregnant lady who was not given the vaccine is battling for her life at SKIMS due to swine flu infection.

“Women are about six times more likely to die if they get flu while pregnant,” he said.

“With flu season set in, the best way to protect yourself and people around you is to get a flu shot,” DAK President said.