By Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN interim editor-in-chief

bv alvi2407/via flickr

bv alvi2047/via flickr

There’ve been articles, blog posts, a court ruling in New York State halting mandatory H1N1 vaccinations for health care workers, and last week a suspension of the mandatory vaccinations by Governor Paterson (who explained the decision in terms of the vaccine shortage). Earlier this month, we ran a poll on this site related to whether or not nurses and other health care workers who work as direct caregivers should be mandated to receive the flu vaccine.  In reading the poll results, I notice that many of the arguments against mandatory vaccination focus on the right to decide about one’s own body—a powerful argument, indeed.

It did make me wonder: do those who stand by this reason for not getting an H1N1 vaccination shot (or nasal mist) recognize that this argument—that one has a right to determine what happens to one’s body—is the same argument used by women who want to choose whether to have a baby or not? At the very least there’s an interesting parallel, even if some people I’ve pointed this out to don’t seem to agree. I’d like to know if others feel there is a difference—and if so, what?

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