What hospital leaders can learn from 1,300 healthcare employees on vaccine hesitancy

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As hospital leaders debate the best strategies to get their staff vaccinated, learning the top reasons for employee hesitancy could be the key, based on a March Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

The poll included 1,327 healthcare professionals and was nationally representative. Interview questions were conducted in both English and Spanish over the phone from Feb. 11 to March 7.

Ten things to know about the poll's findings:

  1. Fifty-two percent of healthcare workers have received at least one vaccine dose, while 48 percent have not.

  2. Of the healthcare workers who have not been vaccinated, 37 percent are not planning to get the vaccine and 24 percent are undecided.

  3. Sixty percent of vaccinated healthcare workers experienced minor side effects, followed by 34 percent who reported no side effects, and 6 percent who reported major side effects such as pain or fever.

  4. Eighty-two percent of healthcare workers who do not plan on getting the vaccine or are undecided said possible side effects are a major reason, followed by 14 percent who said it's a minor reason and 4 percent who said it's not a factor.

  5. Sixty-five percent of healthcare workers who do not plan on getting the vaccine or are undecided said a major reason is they did not trust the government to make sure the vaccine is safe or effective, followed by 23 percent who said it's a minor reason and 12 percent who said it's not a factor.

  6. Eighty-one percent of healthcare workers who do not plan on getting the vaccine or are undecided said the vaccine is too new and they want to see how it works on other people, followed by 14 percent who said it's a minor reason and 5 percent who said it's not a factor.

  7. If employers required employees to get the vaccine to keep their job, 65 percent of healthcare workers who are not self-employed and do not plan to get the vaccine or are undecided said they would leave their job, followed by 34 percent who would get the vaccine.

  8. Fifty-three percent of healthcare workers said their colleagues encouraged them to get the vaccine, compared to 47 percent whose colleagues did not. Sixty-seven percent said their employers encouraged them to get the vaccine, compared to 32 percent whose employers did not.

  9. Fifty-six percent of healthcare workers who have not been vaccinated said they have not been encouraged by their colleagues to get the vaccine, compared to 44 percent of colleagues who have. Fifty-eight percent said their employers encouraged them to get the vaccine, compared to 42 percent who said their employers did not.

  10. Fifteen percent of healthcare workers who were encouraged to get the vaccine reported feeling unfairly pressured to do so, compared to 85 percent who did not feel that way.
 

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