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New study says 1 in 4 hospital workers are not vaccinated

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:38 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A recent study shows 25% of hospital workers have not received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That data shows these hospital workers have direct contact with patients.

According to a WebMD and Medscape Medical News analysis of data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows one in four hospital workers are not vaccinated.

The president of the Alabama Hospital Association Dr. Don Williamson called this news “concerning.”

“We would love to have every hospital employee vaccinated. I’d like to have everybody in Alabama, for whom are eligible, to be vaccinated. So, sure it’s concerning to see 1 in 4 hospital employees nationwide not vaccinated.”

President of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson, believes the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are still under Emergency Use Authorization may be contributing to the issue, but it’s unclear if there will be mandates for hospital workers once full authorization is approved.

“The decision for mandatory vaccination is a decision that will be made [on a] hospital or health system [basis], based on what they find to be the most effective way to protect their staff and their patients from COVID,” Dr. Williamson said.

It’s unclear exactly how many hospital workers in Alabama are unvaccinated.

“What we know from anecdotal reports, there are hospitals in Alabama that have 50% of their staff vaccinated. There are hospitals in Alabama that have 80% of their staff vaccinated,” Dr. Williamson said.

Dr. Williamson said the reasons some hospital employees are reluctant to roll up their sleeves aren’t much different from concerns we hear from people in the community.

“There’s a concern about safety because it was developed more quickly than other vaccines may have been. There’s a concern about impact on reproduction because of misinformation. There’s no evidence it’s altered future fertility, and in terms of it being developed rapidly, the question is: were there any steps skipped in its development? The answer is there weren’t.”

Dr. Williamson said you’ll never be able to get 100% participation with anything, including vaccinations.

That’s because there are people who won’t get the shots, and others who simply can’t get it.

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