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November Survey Reveals Significant COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Among Nursing Home Staff

A vial of vaccine at an Indiana clinic. Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they would consider taking a vaccine at some point. (Alex Paul, WTIU/WFIU News)

A study by some of Indiana’s top public health officials reveals significant COVID vaccine hesitancy among staff at long-term care facilities.

According to the report, more than half of Indiana’s long-term care staff members responding said they would not get a vaccine as soon as it was available. The study appeared in the March issue of the Journal of The American Geriatrics Society.

More than 8,000 workers responded to the state department of health’s anonymous survey in November. Authors included chief medical officers from the state’s Department of Health: Dr. Lindsay Weaver, and Family and Social Services Administration, Dr. Dan Rusyniak.

Nearly 70 percent of staff said they would consider taking a vaccine at some point.

A spokesperson from the health department wrote in an e-mail that nearly 46,000 doses have been administered to staff already but would not give the number of unique individuals.

The report estimates more than 46,000 long-term care facility staff members work in Indiana—a number derived from facility-provided rosters for large-scale testing efforts.  

The department said it does not track the number of facility employees.

Study authors concluded, "educating staff on the vaccine may be critical for increasing update."

While both the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths in facilities have slowed dramatically, nearly half of Indiana’s virus deaths have occurred in nursing homes.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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