In a news briefing on Dec. 30, 2020, Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine said that 60 percent of the nursing home staff in his state are refusing to get COVID-19 vaccines. According to surveys, health care workers in the United States have expressed fears of potentially dangerous side effects from the experimental vaccines and concerns about be used as “guinea pigs.”1 2 3 4
“I don’t have data in front of me, but anecdotally, it looks like somewhere around 40 percent of staff at nursing homes are taking the vaccines and 60 percent are not taking it,” Gov. DeWine said at the press conference.5
The refusals by nursing home staff in Ohio were made known to Gov. DeWine by the Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) based in Lewis Center, Ohio. The association represents more than 1,000 long-term nursing care facilities. Its executive director, Pete Van Runkle, said that at some of the OHCA’s member facilities, all staff members received COVID-19 vaccines, while at other facilities only 20 percent of the staff agreed to get the vaccines.6
An article in Mahoning Matters reported:
Anecdotally, most of workers’ concerns are about safety—whether this brand new vaccine, which was brought to bear at unprecedented speed, has yet-unknown long-term side effects; specifically, an impact on the reproductive system.7
“We aren’t going to make them but we wish they had a higher compliance,” Gov. DeWine said. “Everyone makes their own choice about this but we want to make it clear that opportunity may not come back for a while.”3 8
Health Care Workers in California Reluctant to Get COVID-19 Vaccines
Ohio is not the only state in the country where a significant percentage of frontline are unwilling to receive COVID-19 vaccines. In Los Angeles County, California, between 20 and 40 percent of health care workers are declining the vaccines. In California’s Riverside County, approximately 50 percent of health care workers are refusing to get vaccinated. In Tehama County, more than 50 percent of the 700 health care workers at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital did not get COVID-19 vaccines when they were first offered.3 9
“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 percent for sure,” said April Lu, a nurse at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.3 10
New York City Firefighters Also Don’t Want COVID-19 Vaccines
Firefighters in New York City have joined health care workers in expressing reluctance to get experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccines released for use in the U.S. under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December. About 55 percent of the 2,053 firefighters in New York City surveyed in December by the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) said that they will refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, citing they did not want to be “test subjects” as their primary reason.11 12 13 14 15
Click here to view References:
1 The Ohio Channel. December 30, 2020 #COVID19 Update with Governor Mike DeWine. YouTube Dec. 30, 2020.
2 Jared, Inc. Vaccine Fear Is Next COVID-19 Battleground: National Survey. Business Wire Sept. 2, 2020.
3 Rahhal N. Up to 60% of US health workers are refusing to get COVID-19 vaccines over fears of side effects. Daily Mail Jan. 1, 2021.
4 Singh S, Goldman H, LaVito A. Fears Prompt Some Medical Workers to Balk at Getting the Vaccine. Bloomberg Dec. 17, 2020.
5 Shladen M. 60% of Ohio Nursing Home Workers Refuse Vaccine. Ohio Capital Journal Dec. 31, 2020.
6 Rouan R. DeWine says 60% of nursing home workers not electing to get vaccine. The Columbus Dispatch Dec. 30, 2020.
7 Dennis J, Hardin J. Ohio nursing home workers have refused the coronavirus vaccine; we asked why. Mahoning Matters Jan. 1, 2021.
8 Newsmax. Ohio Governor: 60% of Nursing Home Staff Refusing Vaccine. KVOR 740AM.
9 Shalby C, Baumgaertner E, Branson-Potts H, Reyes-Velarde A, Dolan J. Some healthcare workers refuse to take COVID-19 vaccine, even with priority access. Los Angeles Times Dec. 31, 2020.
10 Colarossi N. 40% of LA’s Front-Line Workers Declined COVID Vaccine as Some County ICU’s Run Out of Beds. Newsweek Dec. 31, 2020.
11 Fisher BL. Over 3,000 “Health Impact Events” After mRNA Vaccinations. The Vaccine Reaction Dec. 22, 2020.
12 Poll: Over Half of FDNY Firefighters Will Refuse Vaccine. Firehouse.com News Dec. 6, 2020.
13 Dorn S. More than half in FDNY say they’ll refuse COVID-19 vaccine. New York Post Dec. 5, 2020.
14 Hutchinson B. Over half of NYC firefighters would refuse COVID-19 vaccine, survey finds. ABC News Dec. 7, 2020.
15 López C. Over half of New York City firefighters say they’ll refuse first round of the COVID-19 vaccine: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. Insider Dec. 6, 2020.