“FIVE FREEDOMS”: Unvaccinated Health Care Professionals Refusing Mandates; Labor Shortages Ensue
- Healthcare Professionals amongst largest group of unvaccinated individuals in the U.S
- Staffing shortages an increasing threat to healthcare as baby boomers age
- COVID-19 vaccine mandates further exacerbate staffing deficit
Health care workers’ reluctance to accept vaccine mandates may be having health care consequences for everyone.
Recently published HHS statistics show that healthcare professionals comprise the largest group cumulatively of individuals unvaccinated against COVID-19. Indeed, one in 3 healthcare professionals has declined to receive the new mRNA vaccines, citing mistrust stemming from informed consent violations in the past, as well as in the present: “non-consensual medical testing and mistreatment of racial and ethnic minority groups”.
This reluctance is a barrier to the Biden Administration’s intentions as it announces new requirements for healthcare professionals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As a result of this declaration, doctors, nurses, and hospital staffers are walking off the job.
The timing could not be worse, as they are doing so ahead of a projected surge in cases from the COVID-19 variant known as ‘Delta.’
According to the Association of College of Nursing, staffing deficits had already been a huge concern prior to COVID-19;
“The U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) that is expected to intensify as Baby Boomers age and the need for health care grows”. The AACN is currently working with policymakers to address these deficits, but it now faces the new challenge of qualified healthcare professionals choosing walking papers over COVID vaccinations. Deficits in hospital staffing have catastrophic consequences, as reduced staffing ultimately means reduced bed counts. This ratio of beds-to-patients, is one metric states have used to determine whether it’s safe to conduct business as usual, or lockdown.
This labor shortage does not just affect the health care sector however. States currently allowing discrimination against employees due to vaccine status are experiencing staffing shortages in general. And the hit is among more educated workers. In addition to healthcare professionals, those with higher education are ‘likelier to resist’ mandates.
People with one or more PhDs are the most hesitant when it comes to getting the Covid-19 vaccine, according to researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, based on a survey of just over five million US adults.