Should Interim Healthcare Workers Be Required to be COVID19 Vaccinated?
If the word we all have in the back of our mind is “Covid-19,” then it should not come as a surprise that the most significant debate of our time is “to be or not to be, vaccinated, that is.” Now, to make things more confusing, you have people telling you that you must get the vaccine, especially in the healthcare field. Is it fair to take away the choice for our healthcare workers? What about temporary healthcare workers in a facility? Should interim healthcare workers be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine?
Vaccination vs. Risk
If you talk to some people, it is a gamble. Others say that for us to survive this illness and make it go away, we must focus our attention on “herd immunity,” starting in the hardest-hit areas. This includes healthcare workers in long-term care facilities, hospitals, etc.
Why is there such a push for immunization in these areas? Statistically, the average of illness in long-term healthcare facilities is still climbing. The elderly are most at risk for serious health concerns and mortality, but the staff of these facilities could be affected as well due to always being in an enclosed space with residents.
There is no denying it. Our healthcare teams are at risk, as are the patients who are in these facilities. However, should healthcare workers be forced to get a vaccine that they do not want to lower the risk for patients potentially? Some healthcare workers would prefer to avoid the vaccination, which is caused by a variety of different things. The biggest is fear of the vaccine, and it stems from a lack of testing and misinformation.
For instance, a woman in the healthcare field may not want to risk the health of an unborn baby by getting vaccinated. What does she do if her facility makes it mandatory? Is it fair to take away her choice? Studies are being performed to show that a vaccination is not dangerous for pregnancies, but still, some women may have concerns. Add into this the number of women who are interim healthcare workers. Should they have to take a vaccine because they go to work at a place that requires vaccines?
The Fear Factor of Vaccinations
Driving our fear is uncertainty and technology. Although there are numerous reports of how safe the vaccine is for most people who have received it, we still see the stuff that has gone wrong on the internet. Just think about how the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine has become a reason for some to avoid vaccination, even though the CDC has said the benefits far outnumber the risk and has resumed use of it.
Then you do have to deal with a lack of trust. Is it believable that we are safe if we take the vaccine? What will be the long-term risks that are associated with it?
It all boils down to which view you want to take of it, but this doesn’t lessen the fear and concern that many people have, both in the medical field and beyond, where even other businesses say you must have the vaccine to continue working. How will other industries deal with mandatory vaccinations? Only time will tell for them, but today, it is the biggest decision that our healthcare professionals must deal with.
It’s a Big Decision for Interim Healthcare Workers
In the United States, vaccinations reach a point where they are readily available to all who want them. People want to balance their freedom to choose with doing what is best for them on a personal level. There have been people who have adverse reactions to the vaccination against Covid-19, but those who take the vaccine and come out fine on the other end.
We are in a divided country. According to the Washington Post, the healthcare industry shows that approximately 58% of healthcare workers say they support a vaccine. Some people do not want the vaccine. Approximately 65% say they would leave their job if required to get the vaccine. Considering the AMA says that staff who is not vaccinated should be kept from patient contact, it makes things kind of hard for the healthcare workers that would rather see more testing before getting a vaccination for themselves.
Is There a “Right” Answer?
In the interest of public health, many say vaccinations are the only way to achieve our mutual goal of life, as we remembered it only a year ago. When we could sneeze in public and not have everyone look at us as though we have some infectious disease, this doesn’t remove our hesitancy when faced with whether we take the vaccine or not.
In February, it was stated that some health facilities might offer incentives, but this, too, causes some concern. It also adds more questions. The government is trying to avoid a mandate that insists everyone in healthcare is vaccinated. However, some facilities are offering rewards that do not seem to increase vaccinations. Tokens may include a free breakfast for those who get vaccinated. However, there is also talk of potentially giving cash incentives, which causes us to question whether it is ethical to bribe people to get a vaccine that was only approved for medical emergencies.
The simple truth is, there isn’t a truly “great” answer for anyone. The vaccines may eventually help us get beyond the pandemic, but that does not mean it will not be challenging. We have to gain confidence in the vaccines and the people we work with while feeling confident that brighter days are ahead.
We are unsure that requiring healthcare providers to get vaccinated is a good option, but we also aren’t sure it is terrible. The same is true for our interim healthcare workers. Whatever your opinion, before making a decision, we encourage you to continue to educate yourself by reading studies and listening to the experts. Visit us at http://www.parisihealthcare.com.