TAMPA, Fla. — New research shows about a quarter of healthcare workers across the country are not vaccinated.
According to nationwide data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services analyzed by WebMD and Medscape Medical News, 1 in 4 hospital workers had not received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by May.
An earlier study that looked at healthcare workers' vaccination status showed as of early March, just over half of frontline health care workers nationwide said they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including 42 percent who have received both doses. That left an estimated 48 percent of frontline health care workers who had not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Another study published by the American Medical Association that did not include nurses and technicians, found 96 percent of practicing physicians have been fully-vaccinated against COVID-19.
We got an update Thursday from Florida. According to the state's Agency for Health Care Administration, as of June 4, about 42 percent of staff in Florida hospitals had not received a coronavirus vaccination. That information is self-reported by facilities, an AHCA spokesperson added.
None of the hospitals around the Tampa Bay region could provide current percentages on unvaccinated workers.
Dr. John Sinnott is an infectious disease specialist at the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital.
He's heard rumblings of colleagues not getting vaccinated.
"I think fear is the main reason and I think where they get information from," said Dr. Sinnott.
10 Tampa Bay reached out to area hospitals. None provided the current percentage of unvaccinated staff.
Sinnott sees the fallout of vaccine hesitancy every day as patients come in with COVID-19.
"They're quite sick to get in the hospital and they seem angry but I don't know what their anger is directed to," said Sinnott.
Much like what's playing out in the general population, even those on the frontlines who see COVID at its worst can get caught up in misinformation.
"They're arguments that are very deceptive. They sound right on the surface but they're really not," said Sinnott who shared a story of a nurse who was worried the shot would mess with her reproductive system.
"It makes no sense at all, biologically, scientifically. It's an evil rumor started by someone," he said.
With talk of yet another COVID wave, support for vaccine mandates for healthcare workers is growing.
Justin Senior is the CEO of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, a group comprised of 14 of the largest hospitals systems in Florida.
Senior says each hospital can decide if they want to enact vaccine mandates for staff.
"When it gets full approval, I think a lot of hospitals will be tempted to make it mandatory," said Senior.
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