Many health care workers hesitant about getting COVID-19 vaccine

Health care workers reluctant to get vaccine

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A significant number of health care workers continue to be hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

A new report from the CDC shows nursing home staff members lag far behind residents in getting the vaccine, even though it’s been offered.

The report found 78% of nursing home residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine but only 37.5% of staff members have.

Whitehaven nursing home expects to receive COVID-19 vaccine this week

Nationwide, about one in every three deaths from COVID-19 is connected to a nursing home.

The CDC’s findings are similar to the results of a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which found many health care workers are still hesitant to get the vaccine.

The survey found 28% of health care workers want to “wait and see” how the vaccine affects others before they get it themselves.

Five percent say they plan to get it only if required and nine percent say they will definitely not get it.

“Our residents have been very excited. All of our assisted living residents took the vaccine. Only one resident declined in our healthcare area,” said Rebecca DeRousse with The Village at Germantown.

DeRousse says while residents there have been eager to get the shot, fewer staff members have.

“We’ve had about 50 percent,” said DeRousse.

It’s the same story at the Ave Maria Home in Bartlett.

Every resident has started getting vaccinated, but so far only 50% of staff members have.

Frank Gattuso, the executive director, says it may have to do with how quickly the vaccines were developed.

“A normal vaccine takes three to five years to develop and this one was done so quickly that I think there’s just skepticism about what’s in it,” said Gattuso.

Gattuso says staff members can be inundated with information from various sources, some of which is not accurate.

DeRousse and Gattuso say they’ll continue to provide their staff with factual information about the vaccine, in the hopes more will sign up to get the vaccine.

“I’m very hopeful that after they’ve seen the first round of vaccinations, that when we have our next clinic that some will start their first round,” said DeRousse.

Hospitals face the same problem.

A spokesperson for Baptist says they has vaccinated about 9,000 of their 19,000 team members and continue to encourage more team members to get vaccinations, including sharing videos from experts, answering questions and dispelling myths.

“In some of our hospitals, team members who have survived COVID are speaking to their colleagues about the importance of protecting themselves from the disease,” said Ayoka Pond, the system director of communications.

A spokesperson for Regional One says about 2,400 individuals have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

A spokesperson for Methodist says they have administered more than 16,600 doses, including 9,600 first doses and 7,000 second doses.

“We have not wasted a dose,” said Rachel Powers Doyle, Senior Communications Specialist for Methodist. “Just like communities across the U.S., it is understandable that some employees may be hesitant, and we are ensuring we are providing them with information and education to make an informed decision. As we continue to vaccinate more employees, we believe others will become more comfortable getting vaccinated themselves.”

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