Survey Finds 15% of US Healthcare Workers Refuse to Take COVID-19 Vaccine

January 18, 2021
Killian Meara

In organizations with 50 or fewer employees, an average of only 29% of healthcare workers had been offered the vaccine.

A recent survey conducted by Surgo Ventures called “U.S. Healthcare Workers: COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake and Attitudes”, has found that a troubling number of healthcare workers who were offered the administration of an approved coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine refused to take it. The vaccine hesitancy survey is the first of its kind to be conducted in the United States.

The survey consisted of 2,504 participants and was administered between December 12-30th of 2020 to 3 groups of workers, healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, dentists), allied health professionals (health technicians, EMS, home health workers) and health management and support personnel (administrative staff, operations staff).

The survey discovered that of the respondents, 15% refused the vaccine, with 31% citing their main reasons as a lack of evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety. Other reasons pointed to were personal safety concerns (24%) and a worry that the vaccine approval process had been rushed (16%).

At the time of the survey, 53% of those who took it had been offered one of the approved vaccines for COVID-19. 20% of them had already taken a first dose, 18% had not yet received one and 15% said that they would refuse to take it. Of those who would refuse, allied health professionals (22%) were the largest group. Additionally, black healthcare workers (14%) were the largest race who said that they would not take the vaccine, while republicans made up the most of any political affiliation (8%).

The survey also found that those who worked in long-term care facilities reported a stronger hesitancy about getting a COVID-19 vaccine when compared to their peers who worked in hospitals. Healthcare workers who were employed in smaller settings were shown to be being offered the vaccine at lower rates than those who work in larger settings.

“Even 15% of healthcare workers refusing the COVID vaccine is too high,” Hannah Kemp, Director of Programs at Surgo Ventures said. “We need all healthcare professionals to set the right example in these early days, because we still have a lot of work to do to convince the rest of the country to take the COVID vaccine.”