Infectious Disease

One in ten hospital employees has no intention of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine

March 11, 2021

2 min read

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Disclosure:
Kuter reports being a consultant for Moderna. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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Ten percent of employees in two Philadelphia hospitals said they didn’t want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to survey data published in Vaccine.

“Vaccine uptake by health professionals will be important in building public confidence in these new vaccines.” Barbara J. Kuter, PhD, MPH, of the Vaccine Education Center at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, and colleagues wrote.

Reference: Kuter BJ et al. Vaccine. 2021; doi: 10.1016 / j.vaccine.2021.02.029.

Researchers sent a confidential, voluntary survey of 34,865 health care workers – regardless of the clinical role of the employee – at two Philadelphia academic hospitals between November 13, 2020 and December 6, 2020. One served pediatric patients and the other served adults. Respondents were asked to assume that COVID-19 would continue to spread in the US over the “next few months” and that the COVID-19 vaccine would be at least 50% effective, given free of charge, and obtained emergency approval from the FDA and is recommended by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Healthcare Workers.

Kuter and colleagues reported that of the 11,760 respondents (7,271 from the Children’s Hospital) who answered questions about their intentions to receive the vaccine, 63.7% said they would receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it became available, 26.3% unsure and 10% did not plan to get vaccinated. The most common reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated were concerns about side effects (89.1%), too new vaccine (84%), insufficient knowledge of the vaccine (77.9%) and doubts about its effectiveness (32.9%) ). and fear the vaccine would give them COVID-19 (25.4%).

In an adapted analysis, hospital staff planning a vaccination were more likely to be older, male, better educated, Asian or white, up to date with other vaccinations, had no direct patient contact, and had been tested for COVID-19 in the past.

“To the best of our knowledge, this survey is … the largest study conducted to evaluate intent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in healthcare workers,” wrote Kuter and colleagues.

“Our results highlight the prevailing concerns that can be addressed and beliefs that can be harnessed through education initiatives about the safety, effectiveness, and value of COVID-19 vaccination.”

The researchers suggested that hospital staff share their personal COVID-19 vaccination stories with vaccine reluctant staff to increase uptake.

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William Schaffner, MD)

William Schaffner, MD

According to reports from the CDC, only about a third of health workers in long-term care facilities intend to be vaccinated. As a result, the proportion of healthcare workers across the country – clinical or not – reluctant to get COVID-19 vaccines is likely higher than the 10% reported by Kuter and colleagues.

Before vaccines became available in my own medical center, we heard anecdotal and small surveys later confirmed that our doctors and staff were very skeptical about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. In order to increase the number of vaccine acceptors, we have carried out a comprehensive training program. We produced videos that answered individual questions from employees, and we conducted listening tours with everyone – from the custodians to the Executive Suite and everyone in between. We have assured many people from underrepresented groups and others that the only significant adverse event related to the COVID-19 vaccine that has occurred is allergic reactions, but even these are extremely rare.

After taking all of these steps, we saw those hesitant become acceptors right before our eyes. It found that most hesitant people wanted a sense of reassurance from someone they knew and respected that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine was the right thing to do. We have now focused on reassuring young women because there is so much nonsense on the internet about how these vaccines affect the ability to get pregnant. Our female faculties, particularly maternal-fetal medicine, take the lead in these outreach activities. We hope our efforts will have a positive impact over time.

I strongly believe that all health professionals should be vaccinated. Most healthcare workers diagnosed with COVID-19 acquired it in their communities, not where they work. Vaccination can help health professionals create a safer environment both inside and outside the workplace.

William Schaffner, MD

Member of the editorial board of Infectious Disease News
Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Medical Director of the National Infectious Diseases Foundation

Disclosure: Schaffner does not report any relevant financial information.

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