This is another topic where my skepticism rears its ugly head.
I don’t have anything against Art Caplan, and I’m sure his knowledge of the history and philosophy of science is above average; however, if the “renowned bioethicist” has a valid argument for mandatory flu shots, I have yet to see it. I know that logical consistency isn’t a big deal in the modern world, but I like it.
Flu vaccines don’t immunize one from the flu; they pre-sensitize the immune system so that if one is exposed to the flu (that particular or similar strain of the flu) one’s immune system will more quickly and effective respond to the disease. What that means is that I can still “get” the flu and transmit the flu; but, if it’s the “right” flu, my body should more readily recover from it. A flu shot doesn’t make it okay for me to come to work sick or to provide direct patient care without observing universal precautions (mask, gown, and gloves); all it does is hopefully accelerate my immune response and recovery.
As a society, Americans say they don’t care much for scatter gun “problem solving,” but here again we have a situation where we appear to be doing exactly that. Is it because of the few thousand deaths each year - primarily among the elderly, and far fewer than die each year in shootings – or is it because of the lost labor to employers? It’s not because flu shots actually impact the number of flu cases; that’s bullshit.