INJUSTICE IN OUR COMMUNITY
Injustice exists in every community. Currently in the United States, there is a debate over whether the government is justified in requiring health care workers to get the H1N1 vaccine. The question has become:

Is it justified for the government to create a mandatory H1N1 vaccination for all health care workers?


1. How would you answer the above question and why? RECORD your initial thoughts in the box below.




2. Read each of the attached articles discussing the debate. Hint: Each author takes a different view on the topic. As you read, fill in the graphic organizer recording the most persuasive ideas from each article.

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List all possible injustices you see below—think: what actions violate the rights of individuals?






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Choose the most significant injustice from the list you’ve created above. Based on this injustice, what are the effects of this injustice on the community? Consider all possible communities and find evidence in the articles that led to these conclusions.




5. Use your preparation above in discussion over the question: How does injustice affect a community?







N.Y. health care workers protest mandatory H1N1 flu shots
September 29, 2009
By Cara Matthews, Gannett News Service
ALBANY — Several hundred health-care workers, civil libertarians and members of anti-vaccine groups on Tuesday railed against a mandate that medical professionals get seasonal and swine-flu vaccines.
But the state health commissioner said their arguments are baseless.
Nurses and other health-care workers said they shouldn't be forced to get a vaccine that they don't believe has been tested appropriately as a condition of keeping their jobs.
"There's no proof this vaccine will protect us from swine flu or protect us from spreading it to others," said Sue Field of
Poughkeepsie, a registered nurse who works in a hospital maternity ward and a primary organizer of the rally.
Field, who declined to name her employer, said there are other things health-care workers can do to help prevent patients from getting sick, such as not allowing them to have visitors with contagious illnesses.
But Dr. Richard Daines, state health commissioner, disputed that, telling reporters that the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines are safe and vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the flu. He criticized anti-vaccine groups for protesting the H1N1 shots.
"This isn't the time to pump air into a completely deflated argument about vaccine safety," he said.
The state Hospital Review and Planning Council unanimously approved a requirement that health-care workers in hospitals, outpatient clinics and home-care programs receive seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines by Nov. 30, unless they have medical reasons why they cannot. Legislation to apply the same standard to nursing-home workers has been proposed.
Years of voluntary vaccines for flu led to vaccination levels of between 30% and 50% of health-care workers, which is not high enough to provide herd immunity — protection to the remaining unvaccinated population, Daines said.
It's up to the institutions to decide how to comply and what actions to take for employees who do not. Health-care workers are "going to come around on this," he said.
"I know nurses and doctors too well. I've never seen them walk away from a patient problem," he said.
Historically, there is one flu outbreak season each year, with about 2,000 deaths in New York and 36,000 nationwide, Daines said. Because of H1N1, there will likely be three outbreaks this year, he said.
Other groups representing health-care workers oppose the mandatory vaccinations, although they were not connected with the rally.
The state Nurses Association encourages nurses to get immunized but doesn't think that should be a condition of employment, spokesman Mark Genovese said. Not all institutions are requiring the vaccine, he said.
The association disputed the accuracy of the rally organizers' message, Genovese said. Its members have been in discussions with state officials.
The Public Employees Federation, which represents health-care workers, wants the regulation reversed, union President Ken Brynien said in a statement. There are reports that some employees at institutions where vaccines are mandated have retired or been fired because they refuse to get it, he said.
"No other state mandates vaccination for influenza, nor has the federal government done so. New York health care workers should not be used to test an unproven policy," he said.
The Healthcare Association of New York State anticipates that the vast majority of health-care professionals who are required to get the vaccine will, said William Van Slyke, a spokesman for the group.
Outside the Capitol Tuesday, protesters held hand-made signs with sayings like, "We're not lab rats," and "No flu shot, no job?" Groups like the Autism Action Network, which said it plans to sue the state on the issue, and the Campaign for Liberty helped organize the protest.
Deborah Gerhardt, a 37-year-old registered nurse from Walworth, Wayne County, said deciding whether to get an injection should be a personal choice. Just because the FDA approved the H1N1 vaccine "doesn't mean it's safe in my book," she said.

"Where is this so-called emergency situation that is wreaking havoc?" asked Gerhardt, who works at Brighton Surgery Center and Rochester
General Hospital.
"The real havoc is New York state is taking our jobs away for no reason at all," she said.
Cherryl Robbins, a patient-care technician from Staatsburg, Dutchess County, said that in troubled economic times, it is hard to understand why health-care workers are forced to choose between what they think is right for their bodies and what they do for a living. She is 22 weeks pregnant with her first child.
"Up until this year, the choice to forego the vaccine has been there for me," said Robbins, 33. "This year, at a time when I'm pregnant with my first child, and I feel more responsibility for what I put in my body than at any other point in my life, that choice has been taken away from me."
Barbara Jones of Wallkill, Ulster County, said she has never gotten a flu vaccine and has been a registered nurse since 1985. There is an implication that if health-care workers don't get the vaccine, they don't care about their patients. That couldn't be further from the truth, she said.
"I think people should have the right to get it or to opt out of it," said Jones, 47.












Fill in the following organizer as you read both articles:
Cara Matthews: “N.Y. health care workers protest mandatory H1N1 flu shots”

Key Quotations:
Significance:
(For Example: How is this quotation part of his main argument? How is this quotation particularly persuasive? How is this quotation biased?)

1.

2.

3.

What are the American ideals that the author wants to preserve?
What is the author’s overall argument (claim)?
What are the author’s 2 main reasons?
To what extent do you agree with the author’s argument? Why?
Between the 2 articles, can you determine the injustice?
Which side presents a stronger argument? Why?

Can Health-Care Workers Be Forced to Get Flu Shots?

By Alice Park Monday, Oct. 19, 2009
At Winthrop hospital on New York's Long Island, the signs are everywhere. They're posted at every nurses' station, papered above the security panels against which employees swipe their ID cards and even attached to paychecks. The notices are there to remind the hospital's staff — which includes everyone from the doctors and nurses who care for patients to the administrative, housekeeping and food-service personnel — that every employee must be vaccinated against both seasonal and H1N1 flu or face possible termination.
The mandate comes from the health department of New York, which over the summer became the first state to require that all health-care workers be vaccinated against influenza. In other states, individual hospitals have taken the same aggressive position. Given that the pandemic H1N1 strain is circulating the globe — and that one of the seasonal-flu strains is resistant to Tamiflu, a commonly used antiviral treatment — such a policy seems logical. But is it legal? Flu-vaccine requirements are being challenged by health-care workers who maintain that decisions about vaccination should be theirs and theirs alone. In the state of Washington, the State Nurses Association, which in general supports vaccinations, is suing a local health system over its decision to make the flu shot a condition of employment, while dozens of New Yorkers went to the state capital in September to protest the new immunization ultimatum.
Health-care workers are especially vulnerable to both getting sick with influenza and spreading it to patients. That's why the U.S. government has singled out these workers, along with other high-risk groups, to receive the first batches of 2009 H1N1 vaccine, which are just starting to arrive in some states. Vaccination can reduce the risk of getting influenza 70% to 80% and is the most effective way to curb the pandemic. "It is within the purview of health authorities that we engage in certain infection-control activities," says Susan Waltman, general counsel of the Greater New York Hospital Association, "and immunization of health-care workers is certainly among those activities."
Employers, notes Alabama labor-and-employment attorney Jennifer Swain of the firm Baker Donelson, can set conditions of employment. So does that mean any company could impose an H1N1-vaccine requirement as part of its business-continuity plan? Most likely yes, but Swain is betting that few non-health-care companies would be willing to endure the inevitable protests against such a policy. "In health care, it strengthens an employer's argument that an employee might cause a direct threat by not being vaccinated," she says.
Many states already require that people working in hospitals be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella, for example, and an influenza-vaccine mandate shouldn't be seen as any different from these standards. Yet when it comes to the flu shot, those in the medical field are notoriously incompliant: nationwide, only half of them voluntarily roll up their sleeves each year. "That just doesn't deliver the safe immunity level we need in a hospital," says Dr. Richard Daines, commissioner of health for New York State. It doesn't make sense, he says, for health-care workers not to be immunized against influenza. "That's just not tolerable in health-care institutions, where patients come to be safe."
But rigorous vaccination efforts, even voluntary ones, can brush up against thorny privacy issues. At Maryland's Johns Hopkins Hospital, personnel who choose to get a flu shot are provided with a colored clip to attach to their hospital ID. The idea is to make easily identifiable those who are unvaccinated and therefore need to wear masks when caring for patients with respiratory illnesses. The hospital intended to have two colored clips this year: one for seasonal flu and one for H1N1. But administrators realized that since the H1N1 vaccine is prioritized for specific groups, such as pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system, the clips would — at least initially — single out people with those conditions.
So for now, only those receiving the seasonal-flu vaccine will get a colored clip — this year it's yellow — and the system seems to be motivating employees to get their shots. "It introduces a bit of peer-pressure incentive to get vaccinated," says Dr. Aaron Milstone, a member of the hospital's infection-control committee. Still, in case the H1N1 situation worsens and not every health-care worker chooses to get immunized, Hopkins officials are considering additional measures, like making all those directly caring for patients wear a mask.
That is the type of alternative to mandatory vaccination that Angela, a nurse at Winthrop who prefers that her last name not be published, wants her hospital to offer. She has concerns about the mercury used in some flu shots and also feels that the New York State requirement is an infringement on her right to decide what treatments she receives. But neither of these reasons is sufficient to exempt her; only a medically documented condition like an egg allergy (flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs) is an acceptable reason for not getting immunized.
If Angela does not get vaccinated by Nov. 30, she will be suspended. If she doesn't comply within 15 days after that, she could be fired. "We are still in open negotiations with the [hospital] administration," she says, hopeful that her employer can find some way to accommodate the objections she and others have to getting the shot. "I am not willing to be terminated, but I am willing to take it that far."


Fill in the following organizer as you read both articles:

Alice Park: “Can Health-Care Workers Be Forced to Get Flu Shots?”

Key Quotations:
Significance:
(For Example: How is this quotation part of his main argument? How is this quotation particularly persuasive? How is this quotation biased?)

1.

2.

3.

What are the American ideals that the author wants to preserve?
What is the author’s overall argument (claim)?
What are the author’s 2 main reasons?
To what extent do you agree with the author’s argument? Why?