January 7, 2021

Healthcare Workers Refuse Covid Vaccine over Safety Concerns 

  • Flyover Country


By: Amy Jo Underwood

In Brief: 

Healthcare workers across the country are refusing to take the Covid vaccine, despite a spike in cases across the country. The workers state that they are concerned about the safety of the vaccine, as well as its side effects, and do not trust that the government was thorough in ensuring its effectiveness and safety. 

The Background:

After months of testing and trials, a Covid vaccine has begun the process of being released to the public, beginning with frontline healthcare workers.  According to Bloomberg, the development of the Covid vaccine has been extraordinarily quick, with many other vaccines taking over ten years to be approved. However, many are skeptical of the vaccine. According to Forbes, many healthcare workers have refused to take the vaccine due to safety concerns.  

The Columbus Dispatch writes that 60% of healthcare workers in Ohio nursing homes have refused to take the vaccine. Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio has stated that he will not force nursing home workers to take the vaccine, but has said that this may be their only chance to receive it, stating that he wanted to give them a “sense of urgency” about taking the vaccine before it was too late. 

Forbes writes that the chief of critical care at a Houston hospital stated that the majority of nurses in his unit said that they would not take the vaccine. The Los Angeles Times reports that half of the vaccine doses given to LA County have been unused, even though offered to healthcare workers. According to a survey taken by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 29% of healthcare workers were “vaccine hesitant,” while 27% were hesitant among those not in the medical field. 

Notable Quotes:

“I’m choosing the risk — the risk of having COVID, or the risk of the unknown of the vaccine. I think I’m choosing the risk of COVID. I can control that and prevent it a little by wearing masks, although not 100% for sure.” - April Lu, nurse at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Los Angeles

“Reluctance? No question, there’s a lot of reluctance. Because there was no transparency or clarity from the federal government with the rollout, the states and the counties often didn’t know what was happening until the last minute. That makes the vaccine reluctance even worse.” - Dr. Michael Wasserman, medical director of the Eisenberg Village nursing home in Reseda, California  


Amy Jo Underwood writes from Alabama

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