Frontline workers, who are slated to get the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, are refusing to get inoculated according to various reports, with most citing political reasons for turning down the vaccine.
The New York Post reported that in California, New York City, Ohio and Texas, for example, health care workers are refusing the vaccine in “large numbers” over skepticism on its effectiveness given the quick timeline for the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“US health care workers are first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — but an alarming number across the country are refusing to do so,” The NY Post said, citing data from various states.
It said that in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine disclosed that “about 60%” of nursing home workers have opted out of the vaccination despite the soaring number of coronavirus cases in the state.
In New York, “more than half” of the Emergency medical services (EMS) workers were also reportedly skeptical to take the vaccine.
“Now California and Texas are experiencing a high rate of health care worker refusals, according to reports,” it said.
The Los Angeles Times said an estimated 50% of frontline workers in Riverside County in the Golden State also opted against the coronavirus vaccine, while “more than half” of the hospital workers at California’s St. Elizabeth Community Hospital who are set to be prioritized for the vaccine also chose not to get vaccinated.
The outlet noted that about 20% of workers at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills have also declined the vaccine along with “roughly 20% to 40% of LA County’s frontline workers.”
“So many frontline workers in Riverside County have refused the vaccine — an estimated 50% — that hospital and public officials met to strategize how best to distribute the unused doses,” the publication said, citing a statement from Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari.
In Houston, Texas NPR reported that “more than 50%” of the nurses in a facility at the Lone Star state would also not get the vaccine, as “coronavirus has become a political toy.”
“Most of the reasons why most of the people don’t want to get the vaccine are politically-motivated,”it added.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reported in mid-December that among “essential workers” – a group that is a particularly important target of vaccination efforts because of their high risk of exposure to the virus – 29% were “vaccine hesitant”.
“Hesitant essential workers have a variety of worries: Half (51%) are worried about side effects, and a similar percentage don’t trust the government to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective (50%),”the KFF said.
“Another 14% say they’ll only get it if required for work or other activities, and 18% say they ‘definitely will not’ get vaccinated,” it added, noting that “distrust of government and institutions in communities of color will remain a real barrier.”
Experts warned that a high percentage of health care workers and the general public refusing the vaccine could be problematic in managing the pandemic faster.
“Our ability as a society to get back to a higher level of functioning depends on having as many people protected as possible,” Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch has said.
Meanwhile, KFF noted that “there could be setbacks if there are adverse events that receive wide press coverage that spook already apprehensive groups and these will have to be managed well by public health leaders.”
Earlier, Democrats have publicly announced their skepticism in using the vaccine developed by the Trump-led ‘Operation Warp Speed.’
Senator Kamala Harris, for example, said back in September and ahead of the elections that she will not trust President Trump’s word on the vaccine.
“Well, I think that’s going to be an issue for all of us. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has also said that “the American people have overwhelming doubts” about the Trump administration’s ability to facilitate the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
Even Joe Biden earlier accused the President of “undermining public confidence” which would affect the public’s perception of the vaccine. “I’m worried if we do have a really good vaccine, people will be reluctant to take it.”
President Trump has since lashed at Democrats for “[their] reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric.”
— The Hill (@thehill) September 7, 2020
Nonetheless, both Biden and Harris have already received the vaccine and are now urging Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“I want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine. It is relatively painless. It happens really quickly. It is safe,” the once-skeptic Harris said on live television while getting the first shot of the Moderna vaccine. “It’s literally about saving lives.”
Biden also got his vaccine shot live on national television.
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Source: The Scoop