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Health and Nutrition Last Updated: Mar 15, 2021 - 10:28:00 PM

Nurses Don’t Trust Vaccines, So Study Researchers Show Them No Respect
By Heidi Stevenson
Feb 18, 2013 - 10:10:54 PM

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Nurses Don’t Trust Vaccines, So Study Researchers Show Them No Respect

April 24, 2012 by admin

This was yet another junk study designed to get the results that the medical powers want. Nurses disagree with routine vaccinations? Then they must either be convinced or forced.

Syringes, fluids in primary colors

Nurses Losing Faith in Vaccines

Written by Heidi Stevenson

Photo by Piyachok Thawornmat

Nurses are on the front line of medicine. They’re expected to carry out the orders of doctors without question. However, nurses are becoming disaffected by modern medicine and health authorites—and many are refusing to accept the vaccinations that their orders say they must give to patients.

In an acknowledgement that many healthcare workers refuse to be vaccinated, an Israeli study investigated the reasons behind this disaffection. As reported in the journal Vaccine, the authors of What lies behind the low rates of vaccinations among nurses who treat infants? stated their goal as:

The aim of this study was to identify the barriers and reasons why these nurses did not vaccinate themselves against pertussis despite the fact that the pertussis vaccine is the vaccine these nurses administer to infants every day. These barriers may not be specific towards the pertussis vaccine and may help understand non-compliance towards other vaccines.

As can be seen in this quote, the researchers have a bias against the nurses’ point of view. We’ll focus on that after reviewing the study.

The Study

The study was triggered by a situation in which 20 obstetric and neonatal doctors and nurses in a large hospital had come down with pertussis (whooping cough). The Ministry of Health (MOH) recommended that all healthcare workers there and in two local hospitals be immunized, and also suggested that nurses who work with babies in Mother and Child Healthcare Centers (MCHCs) get vaccinated against pertussis. The vaccination rate among the MCHC nurses was only 2 percent.

Therefore, these nurses were interviewed in three focus groups of 9, 8, and 8 people to find out why. The discussions were transcribed and studied. Several issues were identified:

Lack of Trust in Health Authorities

The study stated:

The majority of nurses in all focus groups expressed, to varying degrees, lack of trust in the health authorities regarding their recommendation to be immunized. This was related to the recent influenza pandemic.

The researchers stated that the nurses lost trust because of the H1N1 fiasco, which pushed unneeded vaccines, and they then presumed that the nurses simply transferred the lost trust to the pertussis vaccine.

Lack of Trust in Health Authorities was divided into sub-categories:

Treatment of nurses by the employer (MOH): Nurses were frustrated with the administration, complaining of treatment that demonstrated a lack of respect.

Right of autonomy: Nurses did not feel that the MOH has the right to tell them that they must get vaccinated.

Mistrust of health information:  The nurses are described as having “misconceptions” about vaccinations. They also described the information they’d been given as “inadequate”. It didn’t help them counsel families or make vaccine decisions.

(It should be noted here that the researchers clearly state that the nurses have “misconceptions” about vaccinations. Rather than present the nurses’ views as simply differing from theirs, they took a stance against them.)

Hypodermics in a Row

Nurses' Views on Vaccines

The Right of Autonomy

Although the nurses said that they were aware they had to follow the rules about vaccinating infants, they felt that it was their right not to blindly follow recommendations for themselves. They tended to be quite clear in the view that having a choice of vaccinating or not vaccinating is a right.

Photo by Akeeris

Not Role Models

Most nurses did not believe that it was appropriate for them to be treated as role models. What they do in their personal lives and what beliefs they hold are private, not information for patients. A few of the nurses did feel some conflict in choosing not to immunize themselves, so there was debate on the topic in all three of the focus groups.

Fear of Adverse Effects

Note that the study used the term “side effects” rather than adverse effects.

Nurses had experienced adverse effects from vaccines and discussed them. They felt that the risk from the disease was not great enough to risk the vaccines’ adverse effects in either pertussis or influenza. They also felt that they were being used as guinea pigs.

Risk Perception

Nurses did not perceive the risk of contracting pertussis and influenza as being high, nor did they consider the severity to be particularly great. They feel that they should be tested for immunity before being vaccinated.

The nurses also stated that they believe vaccines are not as important for adults as they are for children.

Researchers’ Commentary

The researchers seemed determined to prove that the nurses’ lack of trust in vaccines was based primarily on the H1N1 (swine flu) fiasco just a year earlier. They stated:

A major theme that emerged from our qualitative data was the feeling of mistrust the nurses expressed towards the health authorities. … This mistrust is similar to the mistrust described by the antivaccinationists.

Notice the negative tone. The researchers had no interest in considering whether the role played by nurses as the primary contacts with patients might give them a valuable perspective on the issue. Instead, their only interest was in figuring out how to counter the nurses’ views. In other words, the presumption was that nurses are less intelligent and less capable of making rational decisions than they are.

The researchers pointed out that similar results have been obtained in other studies—that nurses elsewhere have expressed serious concerns about adverse effects of vaccines. Do they really believe that the nurses don’t know what they’re speaking about?

Researchers’ Bias

The researchers concluded:

Stemming from this study an ethical problem is raised: to what extent should the health authorities give autonomy regarding vaccination to HCWs [healthcare workers] working with vulnerable populations? Additional research and interventions to increase trust between nurses and the authorities and knowledge regarding vaccines is needed.

Blood Drop on Syringe

Nurses' Viewpoints Not Respected

Photo by GameAnna

In their hubris, there is no consideration for the nurses’ point of view, even though it’s near-universal. Do they imagine that nurses are irrational people? That they come to their decisions out of thin air? Apparently so.

  • No Interest in Reasons for Nurses’s Views: The researchers expressed no interest in finding out why the nurses distrust health authorities. All they care about is getting around it or further enforcing their views on the nurses to assure that their vaccination program continues.
  • Belief that Nurses Views Are Skewed: The authors seemed to think that the nurses’ views were skewed because the swine flu fiasco had been only a year earlier. They pointed out that the discussion had tended to center on flu and pertussis vaccines. However, they didn’t bother to consider that, since those were the two most recent vaccines at issue in their lives, they would naturally have focused on them. The researchers were indicating their own bias by trying to suggest that the nurses were unduly influenced by the swine flu fiasco. They simply weren’t interested in considering that there might be a good reason for the nurses’ skepticism.
  • Researchers’ Bias Not Examined: The researchers displayed their bias by correlating the nurses’ views with those of people who are against vaccination, and then using a term that they obviously consider denigrating, “antivaccinationists”. That is not the sort of terminology that one expects to read in a science journal paper. But it’s there, and more than once.

These researchers do not appear to have had the slightest bit of interest in producing a fair study. If they had, they’d have tried to discover whether the nurses had experience with vaccine-harmed people, either as patients or as relatives and friends. That, though, was never considered.

This was yet another junk study designed to get the results that the medical powers want. They want vaccines, and if some members of their own team hold a different view, then they’ll do studies to figure out a little bit of why so that they can decided whether to overcome the concerns or simply trample them. They don’t appear to be the slightest bit interested in anything outside the results they set out to produce.

[Colour fonts and bolding added.].

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