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Understanding why healthcare workers refuse the vaccine mandate

Jayanth Deshmukh, medtigo Medical News October 18, 2021

Vaccines are a safe and effective strategy to avoid serious illness, hospitalization, and death caused by the coronavirus, and vaccine mandates are an excellent instrument for promoting broad vaccination. 

Nonetheless, the fight to inoculate the country against the coronavirus has reached a fever pitch in recent months. President Biden has focused his efforts on vaccinating as many Americans as possible against the coronavirus, including enacting broad vaccine mandates for federal employees and businesses with more than 100 employees. 

Republicans, on the other hand, have grown increasingly hostile to the idea of mandatory vaccines, even though vaccine mandates have existed in some parts of the US since the 19th century. This has turned the fight against COVID-19 into a political battle, portraying vaccine mandates as the latest frontier in the great American defence of freedom and liberty. Republican senators criticize the Biden administration’s measures as government overreach, but they now tell employers that they can’t enforce mandates even if they wanted to. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott – a Republican – issued an executive order banning vaccine mandates with private companies. In his orders, Abbott stated: “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including any employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19,” 

Melody Butler, the executive director of the group Nurses Who Vaccinate and a nurse at Long Island Community Hospital in New York, says she’s heard from nurses all over the country about why they don’t want the vaccine. Their reasons: 

  • The research was done too rapidly. 
  • It wasn’t fully FDA-approved (at first). 
  • They already have antibodies from working on the front lines of the pandemic or even from having previously contracted the virus. 

Many people are concerned about the vaccine’s impact on fertility. To be clear, scientific professionals have addressed all these concerns, and the COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and efficacious, according to the overwhelming evidence. 

While the majority of nurses are vaccinated and more than half support workplace vaccine laws, some are refusing to get vaccinated or face required testing, stating that they would rather quit their positions. The repercussions are already being felt in hospitals. 

“Somehow, it’s [vaccine hesitancy] mutated into not taking the vaccine as a way to defend their rights and fight this ‘tyranny,'” said Ken Resnicow, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “There aren’t many countries with this kind of dynamism.” 

“There’s a touchy subject here: it’s been linked with religion and evangelicalism, and people are afraid to touch that third rail. And I believe we must confront the fact that religion and science are today at odds, which was not always the case, “he stated 

The idea of freedom — a fundamental aspect of the American ideal, according to Rupali Limaye, director of behavioural and implementation science at the International Vaccine Access Center based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health — has provided individuals a foundation on which to put anti-science sentiments, especially among Republicans. “This idea of liberty and autonomy — this comes up a lot as the underlying principles of those who believe we don’t need to mandate vaccines,” she added. 

The effects of opposition to the vaccine mandates are already sending waves across the industry. Because scores of staff members refused to get vaccinated, a New York hospital stated that it would no longer deliver infants. 153 hospital employees in Houston have resigned or been fired because of a recent vaccine demand. It’s a crisis on top of a severe nursing shortage that has existed long before the pandemic.

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