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Health Team

Local health care workers split on getting COVID vaccine

Posted December 4, 2020 7:20 p.m. EST
Updated December 4, 2020 11:49 p.m. EST

— Although health care workers are slated to be first to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the employees at local hospitals are split when it comes to enthusiasm for getting vaccinated.

Some of the health care workers at places like WakeMed, UNC and Duke are really looking forward to the vaccine, believing any risks associated with it pale in comparison to getting COVID-19.

WakeMed polls employees, finds one third want to get vaccinated

However, a recent survey conducted by WakeMed shows not everyone has so much faith in the vaccine.

"We think we'll probably get it in about two weeks," said Dr. David Kirk, the Associate Chief Medical Officer at WakeMed.

Kirk said he definitely plans to get vaccinated, but after interviewing WakeMed employees, he found only around one-third were excited for the vaccine.

WakeMed has about 11,000 employees. Out of those who responded to the survey, the responses broke down like this:

  • One-third said they will get vaccinated
  • One-third said they need more information before making a decision
  • One-third said they will not get it

"It was down those thirds," said Kirk.

Kirk believes that more information is key to swaying more people towards getting the vaccine – both in and out of the medical field.

"There’s not been a whole lot of data and science released to the public yet, so we are very hungry for that data to be able to present that to our staff so they can make an informed decision on whether the risk or the benefits are worth it for them," said Kirk.

It won't just be doctors and nurses in the COVID wing who have first access to the vaccine. It will be available to all of the people working on that floor.

UNC shares insights on COVID vaccine

As a leader of infectious disease at UNC Health, who cares for patients with COVID-19, Dr. David Wohl will be one of the first to have access to get the vaccine. He said he’ll happily oblige.

"There’s always some apprehension where there’s something that is newer," he said.

He offered a reminder that people make decisions like this every day – such as "Do I take this chemo?" or "Do I have this surgery?"

"We have to make decisions about the knowledge we have," he said. "And the information I have right now reassures me that the best decision is to take the vaccine."

Dr. Wesley Burks, the CEO of UNC Health, is also planning to get the vaccine, as he explained in a video about the vaccine sent out to UNC Health staff.

"I will be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as I’m eligible," he said.

While the vaccine won’t be required, it’s easy to tell what leaders want.

"I hope that after you’ve had time to consider all the potential risks, you’ll come to the same conclusion that I have, that we are all safer if we are vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus," he said.

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