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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone,

I'm in a bit of a dilemma and I am hoping some of you can help me because, as vegans, I believe you will understand my situation.

I am supposed to shadow a physician in a hospital and they are requiring that I get the flu vaccine. I have not received it in several years since becoming aware that they use fertilized eggs in the process. I'm not sure if this was irresponsible of me but receiving the vaccine would have been against my conscience and my vegan beliefs. I've still never gotten the flu.

I've tried to get flublok, the only vegan flu vaccine, but every store I go to that might have it is out or the vaccine is expired.

I know a lot of vegans think that the flu shot is an "exception" and could be consistent with veganism if you stretch the "as far as possible and practicable" part of the definition. But I still feel uncomfortable getting the vaccine even though I do not doubt its effectiveness and understand the hospital's policy. I do not think that getting the vaccine will have much impact on the animals being used. Even if this is the case, would that justify getting the vaccine?

What do you think?

Edit: The shadowing is supposed to give me a greater understanding of the needs of the physician and the EHR that they currently use so that I can develop and design software to make it more efficient and user-friendly. The shadowing should only be a one time thing so I should not be around patients on a daily basis.
 

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Impeach the gangster
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My impulse is to say don't get it. I haven't had the shot for many years, and have not gotten the flu. But I also understand the necessity sometimes of not jeopardizing your career. Have you spoken to the hospital about it? Maybe they could help you to acquire the flublok vaccine? Have you searched for flublok online, or just locally? Maybe you can find it on the internet, and have it shipped to you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response Capstan.

I'm not really worried about getting the flu. What is pressuring me to get the vaccine is the policy of the hospital more than anything else. This should not jeopardize my career.

I do not believe you can just order the vaccine and administer it to yourself. I believe you need to have it done by someone with experience, especially in my case since I need proof.

I have not spoken to the hospital about it because I fear they will not understand my concerns but perhaps I should. I do not have an allergy to eggs. I doubt they will be able to provide the vaccine because that is not really their business.
 

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an irregular
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I dont think i have had a flu shot since high school,(close to a decade ago) not for vegan reasons, just never bothered really. This is an area, i wouldnt fault someone for getting one though, especially if it is a job requirement or concern for health reasons as the flu can develop into more serious issues for some people or spread to their immediate family. Maybe this is why it is required in a medical field as a means to lessen the spread of illness to/from patients and employees
 

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Not such a Beginner ;)
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Thank you for your response Capstan.

I'm not really worried about getting the flu. What is pressuring me to get the vaccine is the policy of the hospital more than anything else. This should not jeopardize my career.

I do not believe you can just order the vaccine and administer it to yourself. I believe you need to have it done by someone with experience, especially in my case since I need proof.

I have not spoken to the hospital about it because I fear they will not understand my concerns but perhaps I should. I do not have an allergy to eggs. I doubt they will be able to provide the vaccine because that is not really their business.
Hi. The hospital I work for has a policy that if an employee does not get the flu vaccine, he has to wear a surgical mask while at work.

In a related story, an elementary school near me had 3 children come down with chicken pox. They are making all unvaccinated children stay out of school for 21 days.
 

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I get the flu shot every year. It is required by my employer, but I would get it anyway as it is the very least I can do to help stop the spread of influenza. Influenza kills, so it is important for healthy people to get the flu shot to stop the spread of the virus.

If you are planning to become a medical professional, you will learn that sometimes setting aside your personal discomfort is necessary for the good of your patients and for the health of the public.
 

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I have to agree with no whey jose. There are a lot of vulnerable people in hospitals, from elderly to young children and the very sick. While a person might be totally healthy with an excellent immune system, they can still carry the virus and pass it on to a more vulnerable population such as in a hospital setting. Veganism isn't only about avoiding the exploitation and harming of animals, it extends to all sentient beings, humans included. It is difficult to be perfect in this regard in our world. I am ever grateful they are coming out with a flu shot that does not use eggs, and someday it will be more widely available if we lobby for it. In the meantime, I would have to weigh the harm and risk between the egg in that shot and the possibility of making someone sick. I work in a healthcare setting as well where it is a policy to get the shot, and live with a person who has a compromised immune system. Though in the past I used to avoid the flu shot, in more recent years I decided it is the more humane thing for me to just get the shot so I have a little better chance of protecting not only myself but my partner (while realizing that the shot will not protect against all strains of the flu).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thank you all for your responses. I have not read through them all yet because I should first clarify that I am not in the medical field. I'm going to shadow so I can understand the needs of a physician in relation to his use of electronic health records and hopefully develop software to make things more efficient and user-friendly. I need to get an understanding of what they are currently using and it is not all open source so I can't just go online and download it. I only expect to need to do this one time but they are still requesting the shot. I didn't want to burden you with the details but I think some of you are assuming that this will be a regular thing, which it won't. This is part of a project for college and is supposed to give me experience with software development and EHR.
 

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I always get the flu vaccine. I'm getting older. If I get the flu, and have complications, I could end up in the hospital taking even MORE animal-derived medicine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LedBoots, I suppose I could ask if I could just wear a surgical mask. I don't see why not, though I worry they would judge me as extreme which may make our relationship a bit awkward.

runnerveggie, I'm not going to become a medical professional but I may be involved in software development in the health field. I understand that getting the vaccine will help stop spread the virus and that is good but I hate to have to compromise on one ethical belief for the "greater good."

Naturebound, I get what you are saying about including humans. I think I will probably end up getting it not only for the sake of conforming to the hospital's policy but also to help stop the virus but I sort of feel like I'm rationalizing. I really wish I had just gone in earlier to get flublok before it expired so I could avoid this whole dilemma.
 

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Hi. The hospital I work for has a policy that if an employee does not get the flu vaccine, he has to wear a surgical mask while at work.

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It is the same where I work. I think the State mandates it and we comply. The receptionist, who had a (very mild) reaction, twice, to the vaccine, had to wear the mask during flu season the two years she opted out. This year she took Benadryl when they administered the vaccine and I think it helped. The mask is annoying as all heck.

I get vaccinated every year. I would if I had to or not.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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It is the same where I work. I think the State mandates it and we comply. The receptionist, who had a (very mild) reaction, twice, to the vaccine, had to wear the mask during flu season the two years she opted out. This year she took Benadryl when they administered the vaccine and I think it helped. The mask is annoying as all heck.

I get vaccinated every year. I would if I had to or not.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I get vaccinated too. I work with pregnant women, so obviously.

Karen, your coworker might request the flu vaccine be given from a "single dose" vial, since some people react to the preservative in the more common (and less expensive) multidose vial. Thimerasol (sp) is the preservative, and it contains mercury, which btw accumulates in the body. (I get the single dose type because I get a big hot red arm with the Thimerasol. They used to use it in contact lens solutions, imcidental of nothing lol.)
 

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I understand that getting the vaccine will help stop spread the virus and that is good but I hate to have to compromise on one ethical belief for the "greater good."
Don't you think doing the most good is the best thing to do? Getting a vaccine prepared with a small amount of egg is a no brainer, if the trade off is potentially being at risk for transmitting a dangerous virus to the people around you. Being a vegan purist isn't helpful to anybody, and in this world, isn't really even possible. I would urge you to consider the potential harm to animals that is caused by your daily activities (for example, driving a car), and consider where the flu vaccine falls in this spectrum.

I get vaccinated too. I work with pregnant women, so obviously.

Karen, your coworker might request the flu vaccine be given from a "single dose" vial, since some people react to the preservative in the more common (and less expensive) multidose vial. Thimerasol (sp) is the preservative, and it contains mercury, which btw accumulates in the body. (I get the single dose type because I get a big hot red arm with the Thimerasol. They used to use it in contact lens solutions, imcidental of nothing lol.)
Actually, thimerosal doesn't accumulate in the body, although the injection site reaction is a known issue: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/
 
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