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What to do with hospital workers who refuse COVID-19 vaccines? 4
But now we have an effective COVID-19 vaccine. However, some reports say that up to 40% or even 60% of hospital and care facilities workers refuse to be vaccinated against the Coronavirus. They are in the first line of people who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. That creates direct risk for the patients. If a patient gets infected in the hospital with Coronavirus by an unvaccinated staff members, it potentially also a question of a liability in the hospitals. What to do with a hospital staff who refuses COVID-19 vaccines? Should hospitals require all staff to be vaccinated against Coronavirus specifically? And should they or could they fire those staff who refuse the vaccination against COVID-19?
Not at this point, the sense that there are a few nuances. The first nuance is that the COVID-19 vaccination coverage is going up. So there were many people in the “wait and see” camp that are now accepting COVID-19 vaccines. And very quickly, things have improved substantially. In terms of COVID-19 vaccine coverage, I guess that we will reach a plateau in that group as well. How high that plateau will be, depends on various factors. But I think we can get up to 65 to 70% COVID-19 vaccination coverage by just capturing those who are in the wait and see mode. After that, we will require evidence-based interventions to increase trust in COVID-19 vaccination, even in that group, to communicate to them effectively. So we can get, again, even higher COVID-19 vaccine coverage through that. For the remaining people, depending on their job category, if their COVID-19 vaccination status puts others in danger, then other approaches and sanctions may be necessary. But that would come much, much later. But I think we can get through this journey most of the way by using voluntary interventions by communicating effectively.
I think you authored in 2015 a very interesting review saying that refusals to vaccinate against measles, mumps actually clustered together. Which was an evidence of how people communicate. Do you think that the messages and the conclusions that you did for the MMR vaccines are also applicable for COVID-19 Coronavirus in terms of how to influence people?
To some extent. So there is people that have COVID-19 misinformation or or just concerns spread through these kinds of networks, family networks, friends network, other kinds of networks. So that’s one of those things. The other thing is, the other implication of that work is that acceptance and therefore disease vulnerability clusters, and just like they were clusters of measles, that were where outbreaks happened even after herd immunity was maintained. In the US, we are likely to see that kind of a COVID-19 scenario as well. Once we read the reach the so called COVID-19 herd immunity threshold at the national level, we will continue to have these kinds of regional and local COVID-19 outbreaks. And so those COVID-19 outbreaks would be essential to control by targeting individuals.
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