EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – New study shows a quarter of healthcare workers around the world are hesitant, but local experts say this number is lower in the U.S.
Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, Public Health professor at New Mexico State University and one of the authors of the new study said, the study combines data from March of 2020 until March of 2021 combining 35 studies about healthcare workers COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy from around the world.
“Healthcare workers are a part of the broader society, so they have the same type of fears and concerns and we have to continue our messaging for the general population as well as healthcare workers,'” explained Dr. Khubchandani.
The study includes all healthcare workers which means all personnel working in hospital facilities, not necessarily just those working in direct patient care.
It showed that reasons for hesitancy are just like in the general population mostly relating to side effects, safety, efficiency and having little or no trust in the government.
According to the study, hesitancy was lower with those healthcare workers in direct contact with COVID-19 patients .
Dr. Armando Meza, chief of Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, said he is still receiving emails and text messages from different physicians asking him opinions about the vaccine.
He said with new studies and information about the COVID-19 vaccines, for healthcare workers that are not specialized in infectious diseases, it can be hard to keep track or understand what the message is.
“I think that is a reflection of how medicine has evolved over the years, there’s really such a small group of specialists that can determine what that information really tells you,” he explained.
Dr. Khubchandani said bthat the communication around vaccines should be open and honest and that there should be no room for shaming.
“Always be compassionate and understand that they have their own fears and concerns, we cannot force people we cannot shame them, we can encourage and educate them,” he explained.
Dr. Meza joined in sending the message saying, “don’t someone else’s excuse even in the medical field for you not to consider taking the vaccine because it might be the opposite reason why they are not getting vaccinated why you should get the vaccine.”
He suggested forming specific questions about the concerns you have with the vaccine and finding answers that are mostly available on CDC’s website.