by Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution:
- The Facts:A survey conducted at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital shows that only 40 percent of healthcare workers will take the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available to them.
- Reflect On:Why does vaccine hesitancy not only among people, but healthcare workers seem to be growing larger and larger every single year?
What Happened: Earlier this month Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi, the chief clinical officer at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital, said that a survey was administered there to healthcare workers in December regarding who would get the COVID-19 vaccine and who wouldn’t. The survey found that 40 percent of the hospital staff said they would not get vaccinated and 60 percent said they would.
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Juvvadi said that, “in her hospital, a lot of that hesitancy is based on minority groups’ deep-rooted mistrust of vaccinations and other large-scale health care programs; “I’ve heard Tuskegee more times than I can count in the past month – and, you know, it’s a valid, valid concern.”
In 1972, a government whistleblower, Peter Buxton, revealed that for the previous forty years, beginning in 1932, both CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted the so called “Tuskegee Experiment” to study the progression of untreated syphilis in impoverished African-American men in rural Alabama. Public health regulators lured illiterate sharecroppers with the promise of hot meals, funeral costs and free health care from the U.S. government. According to the Centers for Disease Control, which took over the study in the early 1960’s, none of 299 syphilitic sharecroppers were ever told they had the disease. CDC purposefully withheld penicillin after the antibiotic became a proven treatment in 1947. CDC actively prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs elsewhere. CDC’s victims in that study included numerous men who died of syphilis, 40 wives who contracted the disease, and 19 children born with congenital syphilis.
When, in 1966, Buxton sent a letter to government regulators complaining about the ethics and morality of the study, CDC reaffirmed the need to continue the research until all subjects had died and been autopsied. To bolster its position, the CDC sought, and gained support for the study’s extension, from the American Medical Association (AMA).
Buxton finally told his story to my uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy in July of 1972. Senator Kennedy convened Senate hearings, at which Buxton and HEW officials testified and CDC finally terminated the study. – Robert F Kennedy Jr.
Why This Is Important: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and vaccine hesitancy in general is nothing new. Riverside County, California has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it. At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials, and fewer than half of the hospital workers at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Tehama County, Calif., were willing to be vaccinated. You can read more about this story here.
Roughly 55 percent of surveyed New York Fire Department firefighters said they would not get the coronavirus vaccine, the Firefighters Association president said last month.
A recent survey by Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly a third of health care workers across America would probably or definitely would refuse the vaccination.
A recent Gallup poll showed that only 58% of Americans plan on getting the COVID vaccine when it’s available. An October poll conducted by Zogby found that nearly 50% of Americans have concerns about the safety of the coming COVID vaccines.
Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, and it’s been an issue prior to the COVID vaccination. A number of studies point this out, for example, a study published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection in 2017 titled “Addressing vaccine hesitancy: the crucial role of healthcare providers” is a great example.
Another one published a year before titled “Vaccine hesitancy and healthcare providers” is also a good example. One of the authors of this study, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference on vaccine safety at the end of 2019.
The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider. (More information and links to the conference here)
There are many studies regarding vaccine hesitancy, and if you go through the literature the main causes seem to be a lack of trust for pharmaceutical companies and various concerns about vaccines that have yet to be answered. Aluminum, for example is one. The adjuvant is blamed for adverse reactions and injuries, and science is and has been raising cause for concern for many years.
A recent publication in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) by one of its associate editors, Dr. Peter Doshi, titled ” Pfizer and Moderna’s “95% effective” vaccines—let’s be cautious and first see the full data” calls into question these claims by the COVID vaccine manufacturer. I thought I’d post it here in case you were interested in reading it. It raises a few of many issues as to why some people are hesitant as well.