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Managing Certified Nursing Assistants Perceptions of the Influenza Vaccine

The flu virus vaccine can prevent several residents and patients from complications and even death from acquiring the flu during the winter season.  However, there are still an atmosphere of doubt and uncertainty among many Certified Nursing Assistants regarding its efficacy and safety.  

During the 2014-2015 flu season, 90% of the mortalities from complications from influenza were from those who were at least 65 years old.  Because of the elderly being so highly susceptible it is extremely important for Certified Nursing Assistants to get vaccinated.

Studies have shown that the media has played a large role in how we view the use of the influenza vaccination.  They have been known to show the vaccine in a negative light by not adequately showing the advantages that it provides to a population at risk for infection, rather overemphasizing the serious adverse reactions.

Common Perceptions That is Preventing CNAs from Getting the Flu Vaccine

  • Thinking that they have a low chance of contracting influenza
  • The Vaccine causes influenza
  • Vaccine contains unwanted toxins
  • Unwanted side effects
  • The belief that you should acquire a natural immunity to the flu

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do you Need to Get a Flu Vaccine Every Year
The flu virus changes each year and the vaccine you had this year may not protect you against the newer strains going around. 

Who Should Get the Vaccine

  • Those who are at least 6 months or older
  • Those who are 50 and older
  • Are Immunosuppressed
  • Have health issues such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic or metabolic disorders
  • Are or will be pregnant during the flu season
  • Those who will be in contact with adults over 50 and children under 5

Will the Flu Shot Give You the Flu?
The influenza injectable vaccine are made from the flu virus that has been inactivated.  The inactivated virus cannot give you the flu.

What Happens when you get the Vaccine?
In about 2 weeks of receiving the vaccination, antibodies will develop that will protect you from the virus. 

How Many That receive the Vaccine Don’t get the Flu?
As many as 70-90% of people who are 65 and younger don’t get the flu.

How Do You Tell the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?
Negative depictions of and attitudes of Certified Nursing Assistants toward the flu vaccine can place the elderly population at serious risk resulting in severe complications. 

Who Should Not Get the Flu Vaccine

There are some individuals who should not receive the flu vaccine.

  • Those with an egg allergy
  • Those who have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome in the past and
  • Pregnant Women

Its up to Certified Nursing Assistants and other healthcare workers to provide the best possible care to our residents and patients.  Taking the flu vaccine may be another step in the right direction.