A large number of U.S. health care workers are choosing not to be vaccinated against COVID, despite being first in line. The phenomenon is nationwide as large numbers of health care workers are “vaccine-hesitant,” according to a Kaiser survey.
Reasons for the reluctance vary but in many cases, “politics” is cited as the primary reason for not getting the vaccine. There is also apparently a widespread belief among health care workers that they don’t need to be inoculated—that they can ride out the pandemic without it.
Whatever the reasons, it’s a belief that’s reflected in the wider U.S. population as authorities begin to think any kind of mass immunity against the coronavirus through vaccination is unattainable.
Earlier this week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine disclosed that about 60 percent of the nursing home workers in his state have so far chosen not to get vaccinated.
More than half of New York City’s EMS workers have shown skepticism, The Post reported last month.
And now California and Texas are experiencing a high rate of health care worker refusals, according to reports.
An estimated 50 percent of frontline workers in Riverside County in the Golden State opted against the drug, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing public health officials.
More than half of the hospital workers at California’s St. Elizabeth Community Hospital that were eligible to receive the vaccine did not, the newspaper.
You can’t force someone to put something in their body they don’t want — regardless of the reasons. Whether you believe the fears of the vaccine are valid or not, the choice must be left to the individuals, who will then be completely responsible for their decisions.
A high percentage of vaccine refusal among not just health care workers, but the general population, could be problematic, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch told the newspaper.
“Our ability as a society to get back to a higher level of functioning depends on having as many people protected as possible,” said Marc Lipsitch.
There is a lot of misinformation about the vaccines floating around on the internet which shouldn’t surprise us given what we’ve seen in the last nine months from conspiracy mongers and a media addicted to sensationalism. It becomes more important than ever to allow individual choice in the matter of vaccines.
But many Americans won’t believe anything coming from the government about the coronavirus, including the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. This is understandable. The government’s track record on disseminating correct coronavirus information leaves much to be desired. And the Democrats should be blamed for at least some of the public skepticism, given they spent several months in the fall claiming any vaccine developed during the Trump administration might not be safe.
Those claiming that things will be “back to normal” by next summer should recalculate their estimates. If half the population refuses to get inoculated, it will take even longer for the government to lift restrictions that are putting a brake on the economy.