By Mary Kekatos U.S. Health Editor For Dailymail.Com
Nearly one-third of health care workers in hospitals across the U.S. are unvaccinated against COVID-19, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at Covid vaccination rates from 2,000 hospitals in the nation.
They found only 70 percent of staff members have been immunized since the shots rolled out nearly one year ago.
Vaccination rates were highest among employees of children’s hospitals and those working in metropolitan counties.
A new study from the CDC looked at COVID-19 vaccination rates from 3.3 million workers across more than 2,000 hospitals and found that, as of September 2021, 70% of health care employees were fully vaccinated. Pictured: Dr Yves Duroseau receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Northwell Health Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in Queens, New York, December 2020
Workers in children’s hospitals (light blue) had the highest vaccination rate at 77% while those in critical access hospitals (yellow) had the lowest rate at 64%
‘Our analysis revealed that vaccine coverage among U.S. hospital-based [health care personnel] stalled significantly after initial uptake,’ said lead author Dr Hannah Reses, a member of the CDC team that conducted the analysis.
‘Additional efforts are needed now to improve HCP vaccine coverage and reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to patients and other hospital staff.’
When the national vaccination campaign began in December 2020, health care personnel were among the first to be eligible for shots.
This is due to the risk of acquiring COVID-19 in their line of work and to lower the risk transmitting the virus to colleagues or, even worse, to patients.
Since then, vaccination rates have varied among health care professions.
At least 96 percent of doctors are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 compared to about 70 percent of staff at long-term care facilities.
For the study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, the team looked at data voluntarily reported to the Department of Health and Human Services Unified Hospital Data Surveillance System
Researchers looked at vaccination rates from 2,086 hospitals employing more than 3.3 million workers between January 20, 2021 and September 15, 2021.
Between January and April, vaccination rates rose from 36 percent to 60 percent.
However, they began to slow dramatically and hit just 70 percent in September 2021. meaning 30 percent of workers were unvaccinated.
The team also looked at vaccination rates among subsets of hospitals including children’s hospitals, short-term acute care hospitals (ACH), long-term ACH and critical access hospitals.
Results showed that workers in children’s hospitals had the highest rate at 77 percent followed by those in short-term ACH at 70.1 percent, long-term ACH at 68.8 percent and critical access hospitals at 64 percent.
Additionally, health care employees in metropolitan counties had higher vaccination rate than those in rural counties at 71 percent and 65.1 percent, respectively.
‘Hospital-based [health care personnel] play a critical role in influencing community uptake of vaccines and are also at increased risk of both acquiring and transmitting COVID-19 in healthcare settings,’ said Ann Marie Pettis, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, in a statement.
‘The findings from this analysis suggest that vaccine mandates as well as investment in additional educational and promotional activities could help increase vaccine coverage among HCP to better protect public health.