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U.S. health care workers in major states refusing COVID-19 vaccine

Posted: Saturday, January 2, 2021. 2:27 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The New York Post reports that in at least four major states, health care workers who are first in line to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are refusing the shot for various reasons, including politics.

The trouble with that, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch separately told the Los Angeles Times, is that a high percentage of vaccine refusal among not just health care workers, but the general population, could be problematic: “Our ability as a society to get back to a higher level of functioning depends on having as many people protected as possible.”

In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine said this week, about 60 percent of the nursing home workers in his state have so far chosen not to get vaccinated. 

The Post previously reported that more than half of New York City’s emergency medical services (EMS) workers have shown skepticism.

The Los Angeles Times reports, citing public health officials, that an estimated 50 percent of frontline workers in Riverside County, California, opted against the vaccine. At one hospital, St. Elizabeth Community Hospital, more than half its eligible workers opted out. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 29 percent of health workers were “vaccine hesitant,” it added, primarily citing concern at how politics influenced the development of the vaccine.

And in Texas, a doctor at Houston Memorial Medical Center told NPR earlier this month that half the nurses in the facility would not get the vaccine, citing political reasons. 

But why the hesitancy? One California nurse, April Lu, 31 and working at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, said she could not be vaccinated because she is pregnant.

But she told the Times her co-workers who chose the same path as her believe they don’t need the vaccine to make it through the pandemic: “I feel people think, ‘I can still make it until this ends without getting the vaccine.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is approaching 20 million, with the number of deaths rapidly approaching 400,000. A new variant of the virus has been detected in at least two states.

Officials have targeted 100 million vaccinations by April but face resistance from those skeptical of the purpose of the vaccine. 

 

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