EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Should health care workers in direct contact with Swine Flu patients get the vaccine?
It's a growing debate across the country, and here in the Tri-State as the virus continues to spread.
Some health care workers across the country are being forced to get the vaccine.
That, after the state's health department told them they must get the Swine Flu vaccine or risk losing their jobs.
The workers said they're concerned about the safety of the vaccine, but the CDC said it's safe.
"There is a lot of concern with it being a new vaccine that's being offered," Kim Bellessa with St. Mary's said. "There are some with apprehensions, but we provide them with education on that."
Bellessa has been keeping a close eye on the recommendations handed down by the CDC.
They change almost daily, but she said the hospital will follow the current guidelines.
That means the nearly 4,000 employees at St. Mary's will be encouraged to get the vaccine, but the hospital won't mandate it.
"It'll help reduce the transmission of the disease," Bellessa said.
Health care workers are the first line of defense when it comes to treating those infected with H1N1.
St. Mary's has treated at least four cases already.
It's that risk of exposure that has most hospitals in the Tri-State recommending the vaccine to its employees.
"We want them to protect themselves, and as best we can, we want to protect our patients," Deaconess Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Porter said.
According to Dr. Porter, just when employees there will get the vaccine is still up in the air.
He said Deaconess has been alerted it won't be getting as much of the vaccine as expected in the first shipment.
"As a result, we will probably internally prioritize who we offer it to, and go for people who are in higher risk areas of exposure first," Dr. Porter said.
Both hospitals said they expect to get the vaccines sometime in mid-October.
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