What’s Causing COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Nurses?

Despite a groundswell of support among professional associations and employer mandates, not all nurses are on board with receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines. What’s causing vaccine hesitancy?

According to a survey by the American Nurses Association of more than 4,900 nurses, 11% of U.S. nurses say they will not get the COVID-19 vaccine or they remain undecided.

Among the 7% of nurses who said they will not get the COVID-19 vaccine, the most common reasons for their decision were a shortage of information about the vaccines’ long-term effects and safety, as well as mistrust about the vaccines’ development, trials, and approvals.

Rationales for Vaccine Hesitancy

According to ANA survey, 88% of nurses have been vaccinated. Yet, 29% of nurses surveyed were against employers requiring vaccination for employment.

“More than 100 staff members at Houston Methodist Hospital who were fired for refusing to get vaccinated for COVID-19 appealed a judge’s ruling that sided with the hospital’s right to terminate their employment,” according to Yahoo! News.

Jennifer Bridges, an RN and lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by Houston Methodists’ former employees, said in the article that she is “not anti-vax” and has had previously required vaccines.

Her vaccine hesitancy is based on her concerns that the COVID-19 vaccine was “rushed and it didn’t have the proper research,” according to the article.

Nurses Are People, Too

April Kapu, APRN

When last surveyed by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), about 94% of U.S. nurse practitioners (NPs) who responded had taken steps to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination in March and April of 2021, according to April Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of AANP.

“At that particular time, some of the barriers included that they didn’t have access to the vaccine because they were still rolling out the vaccine availability in groupings,” Kapu said.

The number of fully vaccinated NPs should be higher by now, according to Kapu, given the widespread availability of the vaccine.

But nurses are people, too, and have questions just like everyone else about the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Kapu.

“There might be concerns about wanting more information related to the actual vaccine development process,” she said. “They may want more information about the science, the efficacy. It might be something as simple as (and this would be big to them): ‘I don’t want to have any side effects because I have to come to work and I can’t take a day off.’”

Some, like their patients, have had reactions to vaccines in the past and are concerned about that.

The assumption is nurses already have all the information they need to make a sound decision about the vaccine, but maybe they don’t, according to Kapu. In fact, more than one-quarter of the nurses surveyed by ANA said they don’t have enough information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Education Efforts

Ernest Grant, RN

ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, said some nurses cannot …read more

Read full article here: nurse.com