Why are Florida’s nursing homes employees opting not to be vaccinated?
Bottom Line: Earlier this week a CDC report shined a light on what appeared to be a surprisingly high number of nursing home and elder care workers who were opting not to become vaccinated. In the report, 51% of staffers were opting not to obtain the vaccine. While each state has crafted specific plans for vaccination priorities, nursing home and elder care workers have been prioritized in all of them, so this study wasn’t the byproduct of a small sample size. What’s more is a subsequent report from the Florida Division of Emergency Management showing Florida’s elder care professionals to be among the least likely of any in the country to obtain a vaccine. A remarkably low 36% of Florida’s nursing home and elder care professionals have opted to obtain the vaccine. All have now been offered one. This stands in direct contrast to the 68% of nursing home residents who’ve opted for the vaccine. What’s behind the skepticism by care workers and why is it exacerbated in Florida? The answer appears to be rooted in demographics.
A December KFF study on COVID-19 vaccination acceptance revealed significant differences based on racial demographics. While a majority of all Americans wanted a vaccine as soon as it would be made available to them, solid majorities of Black and Hispanic adults did not. According to the study...
- Only 35% of Black adults & 42% of Hispanics wanted the vaccine
There is a high degree of skepticism regarding vaccines from Black and Hispanic communities. While there are no official statistics on the race of those staffing nursing home and elder care facilities, based on available demographic information from the Florida Department of Health, it appears at least 57% (of Florida’s elder care employees are Black or Hispanic). In context, it’s explainable as to why Florida’s vaccination rate is so low among elder care employees. Related...recently SEIU VP Bob Gibson had this to say: Because of racial disparities and historical injustices, which have created skepticism about the healthcare system, as well as misinformation about the vaccine spread online, there have been some challenges to increasing the vaccination rate for long-term care workers. There’s clearly something to it. But it begs the next question to be asked. If it’s true that there’s pervasive cultural skepticism in healthcare among many, if not most, that’s leading to compromised personal healthcare decisions. Is this manifesting itself in ways unexplored when they’re the ones administering healthcare? This is an issue worth exploring and resolving. For the health of those in healthcare and related services and their patients alike.
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