Health-care workers were the first group in the United States to be offered coronavirus vaccinations. But three months into the effort, many remain unconvinced, unreached and unprotected. The lingering obstacles to vaccinating health-care workers foreshadow the challenge the United States will face as it expands the pool of people eligible and attempts to get the vast majority of the U.S. population vaccinated.
According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll, barely half of front-line health-care workers (52 percent) said they had received at least their first vaccine dose at the time they were surveyed. More than 1 in 3 said they were not confident vaccines were sufficiently tested for safety and effectiveness.
The new vaccines were shipped immediately after receiving emergency use authorization from the federal government. And because health-care workers were the first to be offered vaccinations, some took a wait-and-see approach.
“There was very little time to prepare health-care workers for the vaccines,” said Kelly Moore, deputy director of the Immunization Action Coalition, which promotes vaccine education.
Now that more than 75 million people have been vaccinated, with very few side effects and broad-based national educational campaigns being launched to counter concerns, experts hope vaccine confidence will increase among health-care workers and others.