About 50 percent of workers in California’s Riverside County have refused to take the vaccine, along with 60 percent of nursing home staff in Ohio.
A large percentage of front-line workers in hospitals and nursing homes have refused to take the Covid-19 vaccine, a hurdle for public health officials as the country struggles to roll out inoculations around the country.
About 50 percent of front-line workers in California’s Riverside County have refused to take the vaccine, Riverside Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told The Los Angeles Times on Thursday. California is currently overwhelmed with cases as hospital staff in Southern California face a shortage of intensive-care units and have created makeshift units.
Vaccine development and distribution has been the target of persistent conspiracy theories and disinformation on social media, although it’s unclear how much impact this anti-vaccination movement has had on overall public trust in the process.
About 2 in 10 Americans are certain they will not change their mind about refusing the vaccine, according to data from the Pew Research Center. And 62 percent said they would be uncomfortable being among the first to receive the vaccine.
Anecdotally, an estimated 60 percent of Ohio nursing home employees have refused the vaccine already, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a news briefing Wednesday. It’s a stark contrast to the number of nursing home residents who have taken the vaccine when offered, which DeWine guessed to be about 85 percent.
“We’re not going to make them, but we wish we had a higher compliance,” DeWine said. “And our message today is: The train may not be coming back for awhile. We’re going to make it available to everyone eventually, but this is the opportunity for you, and you should really think about getting it.”
Rollout for the vaccine has already been met with several logistical hurdles as only 2.6 million people have been vaccinated as of Wednesday. A review by NBC News of earlier data Tuesday found that at the current rate, it would take almost 10 years to inoculate enough Americans to get the pandemic under control.
It’s unclear how refusal by essential workers, who are prioritized to receive the vaccine in the first phase of administration, could further hamper the distribution efforts.
A survey of 2,053 New York City firefighters found that more than half said they would refuse the Covid-19 vaccine when it became available to them, according to a poll released by the Uniformed Firefighters Association this month.