Health Care Workers Haven't All Lined Up for Vaccinations

Nearly half haven't had a shot, survey finds, despite being given priority
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2021 1:50 PM CDT
Vaccine Hasn't Been Given to 48% of Medical Workers
Jolene Crehan, a director of nursing at a home in Auburn, N.Y., receives her first COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 22.   (Courtesy of Loretto via AP)

Frontline US medical workers were given a spot at the front of the vaccine line, but nearly half still have not taken advantage of the offer. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post found that 52% have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. That means 48% of doctors, nurses, hospital employees and home care aides are at risk of contracting the virus on the job, CBS reports. The fact that they were given priority could be part of the reason. The vaccines were distributed as soon as they were approved, "There was very little time to prepare health care workers for the vaccines," said an executive with the Immunization Action Coalition, per the Post. Many health care workers apparently decided to see how the vaccinations went before committing themselves.

Of the unvaccinated workers, 18% said they don't plan to have the shots because of concerns about side effects or the fact that the vaccines are new. In fact, 16% percent of health care workers would rather lose their job than get the shots. "I wouldn't run the risk of ruining my health to continue working," a 65-year-old registered nurse in Indiana said. She washes her hands and wears a mask but thinks if the virus is as contagious as advertised, she'd have caught it by now. Health care workers who work for somebody were more likely to be vaccinated than those who are self-employed. The telephone survey, conducted Feb. 11-March 7, found 12% are undecided. Skepticism about the vaccines is high among Black health care workers, especially, as it is among the US population at large. For people who are undecided, having convenienent access to the shots often leads them sign up. (More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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