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- A large number of healthcare workers in US nursing homes and hospitals are refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. As much as 80% are turning down a shot in some institutions, according to AP.
- In a number of states, officials have raised the alarm about the low take-up rate of vaccines among healthcare workers.
- Vaccine skepticism is higher than average among those working in a healthcare setting. Three in ten say they are hesitant to get vaccinated, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has had to warn frontline staff that if they want a vaccine any time soon, they must act now.
- In recent days, the US has broken records for both the highest daily rise in new COVID-19 cases and for the highest daily death toll.
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In American nursing homes and hospitals, a surprising number of healthcare workers are refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
As many as 80% of staff are turning down a vaccine in some institutions, according to AP. This is due to unfounded fears about the side-effects of these life-saving shots, AP reported.
The two vaccines administered in the US have been FDA approved, meaning that the benefits outweigh any potential risks. Additionally, neither vaccine has raised any major safety concerns in large-scale clinical trials.
Nonetheless, skepticism exists among healthcare workers and the American public at large.
Dr. Joseph Varon, a critical care doctor from Houston, has said that more than half of the nurses in his unit are objecting to getting inoculated for political reasons. “Most of the reasons why most of my people don’t want to get the vaccine are politically motivated,” Varon told NPR.
In Portland, Oregon, Dr. Stephen Noble, a cardiothoracic surgeon told AP: “I don’t think anyone wants to be a guinea pig. At the end of the day, as a man of science, I just want to see what the data show. And give me the full data.”
About a quarter (27%) of the American public is hesitant to get a vaccine, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. This rises to 29% of those who work in a health care setting, the study shows.
In Ohio, 60% of the state’s nursing home workers have decided against a vaccine, the governor said.
Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that he hopes to instill a “sense of urgency” in his state’s healthcare workers by offering a stark warning. He has told frontline staff they could miss out on getting a vaccine any time soon if they don’t act now, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“Our message today is the train may not be coming back for a while,” DeWine said at a press conference.
In other states, there is also concern about the low take-up rates of vaccines by frontline workers.
In North Carolina, public health officials revealed that more than half of those working in nursing homes have so far refused to get a shot, according to AP.
A significant proportion of nursing staff in West Virginia is also refusing to get vaccinated. About 45% have said no to a COVID-19 jab, AP reported.
Martin Wright, who leads the West Virginia Health Care Association, blamed fast-spreading misinformation about vaccines: “It’s a race against social media,” he said.
Between 20 and 40% of frontline workers in Los Angeles have also refused a COVID-19 shot, public health officials the Los Angeles Times. In neighboring Riverside County, the paper says this rises to 50%.
In a bid to increase the vaccination rates among healthcare workers a number of administrators have resorted to offering raffle tickets and free breakfasts at Waffle House in exchange for a jab, AP reported.
So far, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker, the US has administered over seven million vaccine doses.
The need to successfully roll out the vaccine has never been more apparent. In recent days, the US has broken records for both the highest daily rise in new COVID-19 cases and for the highest daily death toll.
On Friday, there were a record-breaking 307,579 new daily cases, according to Worldometer.
On Thursday, Worldometer shows that 4,245 people died from coronavirus-related complications,