Why aren’t more healthcare workers getting vaccinated?

Key number that I’d like to know: percentage of doctors who have gotten vaccinated (with which brand).

Let’s start with a basic fact: Frontline healthcare workers (very broadly defined) — along with long-term care patients — were the top priority for initial (and continuing) covid vaccinations.

But, according to a recent KFF-Washington Post survey …

Despite their first-dibs on the vaccines, only a 52% slim majority of “frontline healthcare workers” have gotten vaccinated.

That’s hardly an inspiration for folks who are still unvaccinated so let’s drill down on the numbers.


According to the KFF-WaPo survey, the combined vaccination rate for healthcare workers varies widely by it’s component parts.

Only about 40% of administrative and “patient care” healthcare workers have gotten vaccinated.

But, about 7 in 10 “diagnosis & treatment” professionals (think: doctors & nurses) have gotten vaccinated.

The latter is an important number since doctors and nurses (a) have had ready access to the vaccine (b) are most likely to be frequently and directly exposed to covid, and (c) should be the most “in the know” re: the vaccines efficacy & safety.

So, the pivotal question: Is 70% a high number that should inspire confidence or a hard ceiling on the percentage of the broad population’s likelihood of getting vaccinated?


Anecdotally, whenever I bump into a doc, I ask if they’ve been vaccinated, which brand, what about their staffs”?

So far, in my very small sample, all docs have been vaccinated (Pfizer or Moderna), as have the clear majority of their staffs.

Among the vax-hesitant staffers, the resistance rationales: (1) current workplace protocols have, for a year, kept them from being infected so why fret now? (b) personal health considerations prevail (e.g. immune system disorders) and (c) “wait & see” uncertainties about the vaccines.

The latter is a bit worrisome…


For what it’s worth …

I’d like to see the numbers broken down by “doctors only” and all other “prescribers & treaters”.

In fact, expecting the doc’s number to be closer to 100%, it (along with a parade of doc testimonials) should be center-stage in an marketing program to cut vax-hesitancy.

That would be more compelling than a showcase of politicos and celebrities.

2 Responses to “Why aren’t more healthcare workers getting vaccinated?”

  1. Dan Says:

    70% sounds too low. When I worked in hospitals, vaccines (flu mostly) were required except for health or religious reasons. Religious objections were actually vetted, and not given a free pass. Curious to see the breakdown for inpatient providers (more sick patients) vs outpatient providers. Also curious to see a deep dive on “high Patient contact” vs others. Are Radiologists and Pathologists in the dx and tx bucket, or somewhere else? The old joke is true: “How do you hide a $100 bill from a Radiologist? Put it on the actual patient”

  2. Carolyn Lagarde Says:

    This makes me nervous also.

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