Views And Reviews No Holds Barred

Margaret McCartney: Mandatory flu vaccination won’t fix the NHS

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k402 (Published 06 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k402
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner
  1. Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}margaretmccartney.com

Bruce Keogh, national medical director for NHS England, recently called for a “serious debate on mandatory flu vaccination.”1 And the chief medical officer for England, Sally Davies, has indicated her support for mandatory flu vaccination for NHS staff.23 This would be a mistake.

Hepatitis B vaccination, for example, is a highly evidence based programme, usually requiring only three doses for lifelong protection. Flu vaccinations must be repeated every year, meaning a need for long term cooperation. Also, the benefits to healthcare workers (and hence patients) from flu vaccination are not so clear.45 Flu vaccinations may not work …

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