Many Healthcare Workers Refusing COVID Vaccine Over Lack of Faith In Government


With a coronavirus vaccine now available in America after an unprecedented rush, a high percentage of health care professionals and frontline workers are either hesitant to accept the shot or outright refusing it.

According to Forbes, medical and government officials have reported the surprisingly low rates of hospital workers, nursing home staff, and first responders eager to take the vaccine intended to prevent COVID-19.

In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine said he was “troubled” by low numbers of nursing home staff lining up to receive the vaccine, stating that roughly 60% of those surveyed refused the shot.

Back in December, Dr. Joseph Varon, chief of critical care at Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center, reported that more than half of the nurses in his hospital’s “COVID-19 unit” informed him they would not get the vaccine. Most of them, Dr. Varon explained, do not trust the government that has pushed for the vaccines to be developed and approved with such speed.

As we reported last month, more than half of surveyed New York City Fire Department firefighters said they would not get the coronavirus vaccine, while just a third of city transit workers expressed willingness to get the shot.

Once again, according to a study by NYU, a “lack of trust” was behind the overwhelming reluctance to take the vaccine. Surveyed transit workers said “the main sources of trusted, reliable information included: personal healthcare provider, CDC, Governor Cuomo, and the [Transit Workers Union] leadership,” with researchers adding that “a sizeable portion said they no longer trust anyone.”

Meanwhile, in Riverside, California, hospital and government officials have been forced to figure what to do with unused doses after roughly 50% of frontline workers in the county refused the vaccine.

In Tehama County, California, fewer than half of workers at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital were willing to be vaccinated. In L.A. County, around 20% to 40% of frontline workers have reportedly declined the shot.

In Chicago, Loretto Hospital’s chief clinical officer Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi said that a December survey revealed that 40% of the hospital staff did not want to be vaccinated.

Another December survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29% of healthcare workers were not eager to take the shot, pointing to concerns over side effects and expressing a lack of faith in the government to ensure the vaccine’s safety.

A common thread among groups of frontline workers across the nation reluctant to take the shot is race, with Black and Hispanic individuals especially wary of the shot.

According to a Pew Research Center poll published last month, Black Americans exhibet the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy with less than 43% saying they would definitely/probably get a coronavirus vaccine.

Forbes explains:

Dr. Juvvadi told NPR that “there’s no transparency between pharmaceutical companies or research companies — or the government sometimes — on how many people from” Black and Latino communities were involved in the research of the vaccine. Dr. Varon said that “the fact that [President] Trump is in charge of accelerating the process bothers” those individuals who refuse to be immunized, adding “they all think it’s meant to harm specific sectors of the population.” In an op-ed published in the New York Times earlier this week, emergency physicians Benjamin Thomas and Monique Smith wrote that “vaccine reluctance is a direct consequence of the medical system’s mistreatment of Black people” and past atrocities, such as the unethical surgeries performed by J. Marion Sims and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, best exemplifies “the culture of medical exploitation, abuse and neglect of Black Americans.”

“I’ve heard Tuskegee more times than I can count in the past month,” said Dr. Juvvadi, “and, you know, it’s a valid, valid concern.”

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