Resistance to the COVID Vaccine Is Coming From a Surprising Sector -- Frontline Healthcare Workers

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

What is behind the opposition from those tabbed to be the first recipients?

Once the announcement was made weeks ago that there were two versions of the COVID-19 vaccine ready for the market, instantly the issue became politicized. Throughout December, there was distemper about Trump’s year-end prediction coming true, leading to claims it may not be safe from sources such as Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris. At the same time, we had medical experts in the journalism field declaring how everyone should be required to take it and what retributions should follow for those who defer.

Well, those social extremists are facing a curious contradiction. Reports are the very group that was declared as the needed initial beneficiaries — healthcare workers — are seeing a growing number of their field deciding to forego taking the vaccine. Streiff initially noted last week there were select instances where some facilities saw staff deciding against the vaccine, but now it is being seen in more sectors of the country, and in significant amounts.

The Los Angeles Times details that, in a number of hospitals in the LA area, the staff working on the frontlines are showing a hesitancy to getting vaccinated, despite the fact that they have been prioritized as essential recipients. The numbers show this is not a small number, nor an isolated matter.

At St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Tehama County, fewer than half of the 700 hospital workers eligible for the vaccine were willing to take the shot when it was first offered. At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials.

Some of the hospitals are seeing enough resistance from staff that they are left to contemplate who to qualify for the large number of unused doses. Not restricted to California, this is becoming normalized across the country. In Texas, one hospital is showing half of its staff demurred from taking the shot, while in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine reports that 60% of workers in nursing homes across his state have begged off of the vaccine. Last month the NY Post also noted a high percentage of EMT workers and related staff were resisting the chance at receiving the shots.

The reasons for this are varied, but there is a high degree of media-fed political motivations for these decisions. Many are citing either the rapid rollout may not be safe or that they simply harbor distrust in the government behind the vaccine push. As Streiff wrote, one contributing factor is the lack of character we have been witnessing from the medical leadership, like Dr, Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation has a survey showing that nationwide, 30% of healthcare workers are vaccine-hesitant, a few percentage points above the average seen from the general public. The reasons cited range from concern over side effects or that politics played too large of a role in the R&D phase. It is not all anti-Trump sentiment either; the largest group showing hesitancy was among avowed Republicans. This shows that the leery nature found in a large portion of the country is not bound by a single category.

This will become a thorny issue for those desperate to politicize the vaccine rollout. Claims have already been made that opposition to this cure is based in conspiracy theories and fed by social media. Daily Kos, for instance, cites anti-vax pushes coming from groups like Neo-Nazis and Satanists, mostly operating on FaceBook. The effort here is to paint those resisting the vaccine as being the glaring example of anti-science kooks worthy of scorn and banishment.

We have heard all manner of hysterical totalitarian responses to the concept of citizens electing to not get the vaccine. Extremists have been proposing everything from a COVID passport, to denying medical care to those who refrain, to even making the vaccine a work requirement. These strongarm tactics sound good in theory to the power-bent elitists, but what will they say when presented with such a large number of their own kind who are the ones pushing back from the examination table? They will be labeled as ‘’Essential Workers’’ while at the same time banished from work.

It is one thing to think that it is only the toothless uneducated rubes in MAGA Nation who will not want to be inoculated, but how can they explain this new reality? For almost a solid year now we have been lectured to — nay, yelled at — on the importance of following the guidance of healthcare professionals. When those same healthcare workers are the ones refusing to take the vaccine, that creates a paradox these experts are not prepared to face.

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