30% of healthcare workers unvaccinated as of September, CDC study finds

Thirty percent of healthcare workers in more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals remained unvaccinated against COVID-19 as of Sept. 15, according to an analysis conducted by researchers from the CDC.

The analysis, which was published Nov. 18 in the American Journal of Infection Control, examined data from 3.3 million healthcare workers that was voluntarily reported by 2,086 hospitals to the HHS Unified Hospital Data Surveillance System on COVID-19 vaccination coverage. Data was reported between Jan. 20 and Sept. 15.

Researchers found that vaccination rates among healthcare workers climbed from 36 percent in January to 60 percent in April, but then slowed substantially, reaching 70 percent as of September. Vaccination rates were highest among healthcare workers in children's hospitals (77 percent) and short-term acute care hospitals (70.1 percent), according to the analysis.

Vaccination rates were also highest among healthcare workers in metropolitan counties (71 percent) compared to rural counties (65.1 percent) and non-metropolitan urban counties (63.3 percent).

"Additional efforts are needed to improve COVID-19 vaccine coverage among [healthcare personnel], such as educational and promotional activities, communication efforts to address misinformation, and providing paid time off to receive the vaccine," the paper's authors said.

The authors also noted that vaccination coverage increased 5 percent from April to August, then climbed another 5 percent from August to September. They said this increased rate may have been spurred by rising COVID-19 rates associated with the delta variant or vaccination mandates implemented in some jurisdictions.

The authors said the CMS emergency regulation that requires vaccination for eligible staff at healthcare facilities that participate in Medicare or Medicaid should substantially boost vaccination among healthcare workers.

Read more about the analysis here

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