ORLANDO, Fla. – Nursing home residents and health care workers will be some of the first to get an approved COVID-19 vaccine in the state but hospital systems are reporting those who work on the frontlines are split on whether they will get the shot.
Emergency medicine physician Dr. Rajiv Bahl said news of a COVID-19 vaccine gives him hope.
“This is going to be something that’s going to really help change and pivot the direction of the pandemic,” Bahl said.
Bahl said he will get the shot when it becomes available. He’s encouraging others to get vaccinated as well.
“Everybody has their own concerns about this but rest assured, this vaccine has been tried and tested in this trial and has proven great efficacy for the public,” Bahl said.
Health care workers across the state will be some of the first to get the vaccine but not everyone is signing up.
Jackson Health System in South Florida is one of five hospitals receiving the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine. According to the Miami Herald, the hospital surveyed more than 5,900 employees asking if they would get the vaccine in the first round of shipments.
Just under half the respondents, or 49.4%, said they would be interested, while 35.7% said they are not interested in this round but would consider in the future. The rest, 14.9%, said they were not interested in a COVID-19 vaccine at all.
Chad Neilsen, an infectious disease epidemiologist with UF Health Jacksonville, said they also conducted a survey of employees. The hospital is also receiving doses in the first round of COVID-19 vaccines.
“We saw here when we surveyed our own employees, about 40% of folks were enthusiastic about receiving the vaccine, about 40% said, ‘No, I don’t want it,’ and then there were about 20% that said, ‘I’m not sure at this time,’” Neilsen said.
Neilsen said he understands people may be hesitant to get the vaccine but he’s recommending vaccination.
“I certainly understand the public when they look at those numbers and see only 40% of health care workers want to take it, that can be a little disconcerting,” Neilsen said. “But certainly, we understand that hesitation and it’s people like me, it’s our job to make sure that we convey why this is efficacious and safe and recommend taking it.”
News 6 contacted AdventHealth to see if the hospital conducted a similar survey of its staff and if so, what were the findings. AdventHealth has not responded to News 6′s requests.