Efforts to disseminate Covid-19 vaccines as widely as possible are hitting an unexpected obstacle: health-care workers who decline the shots.
Officials from Ohio said recently that 60% of nursing-home staff so far haven’t elected to take the vaccine. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this month that state officials expect 30% of health-care workers offered the vaccine will ultimately turn it down. Two-thirds of the staff at a Florida hospital refused the vaccine this month, leaving so many unused doses that the facility started giving away shots to the general public.
The hesitancy among health-care workers concerns public-health officials who expected America’s front-line workers to serve as a model for others.
“Please get vaccinated,” Anthony Fauci, who is serving as President Biden’s chief medical adviser for the Covid-19 pandemic, said in a video message to health-care providers. “It’s important to protect yourselves, to protect your family, but as important, symbolically, as health-care providers, to show confidence in the vaccine so that other people in this country follow suit.”
In a survey of 1,563 respondents conducted in January by researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation, 79% of U.S. adults who haven’t yet been vaccinated say they would be likely to turn to a doctor, nurse or other health-care provider when deciding whether to get a vaccination.