Approximately 20% to 40% of healthcare workers in Los Angeles County, California, are not willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine even though they have top priority for immunization. A further 50% of workers in nearby Riverside County also nixed the drug, forcing public health officials to strategize how to distribute the unused doses.
According to the Los Angeles Times, researchers are surprised at the reaction of frontline healthcare workers across the country who should be more aware of the science behind the vaccines and willing to get the shot. According to experts, the safety and efficacy of both the Pfizer and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines has been proven according to data from clinical trials involving thousands of people.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 29% of healthcare workers were hesitant about getting vaccinated compared to 27% of people in the general sector. Respondents to the survey explained that they had concerns about side effects and did not trust the safety of the vaccines. Some said they felt the dangers of COVID-19 were exaggerated, according to The Times.
Even staffers at nursing homes that have been hard hit by the virus are reluctant to take the vaccine. “They are scared of the side effects, they don’t know what is going to happen or if it will really protect them,” said one vocational nurse from a Los Angeles nursing home. Rejected vaccine doses may be offered to non-priority people if frontline workers refuse inoculation, according to California state guidance.
This nationwide reluctance may hurt our chance to achieve herd immunity and control COVID-19.
According to CNBC, you need at least 70% of the population to be vaccinated or have natural antibodies to achieve the herd immunity that can contain the virus. Some companies are considering making sure all their employees get the vaccine, says Rogge Dunn, a Dallas-based attorney, to return some sort of normalcy. He says that especially in the restaurant business it is good PR to be able say that all your staff has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Under the law, an employer can force an employee to get vaccinated, and if they don’t take it, fire them,” said Dunn, according to CNBC. Many healthcare experts say that medical facilities will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations as they do with flu shots for their staff.
© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.