WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Dr. Charles H. Hennekens of Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine is making an urgent plea for unvaccinated health care workers to get the shot.
According to WebMD and Medscape Medical News, analysis of data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows only one in four hospital workers nationwide who have direct contact with patients had received even a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"The ones who've been vaccinated are 95% protected against getting it, and if we get it, we're 94% protected against transmitting it, and the likelihood that we will wind up in the hospital or die from it is vanishingly small," Hennekens said. "So the U.S., ironically, is suffering from an epidemic that's occurring among the unvaccinated. Most members of the U.S. general population trust their source of medical care more than anyone else, and I hope that we'll be able to call on our fellow physicians to really implore all of their patients to please get vaccinated and do it as soon as possible."
According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medical Services, 59% of staff and 80% of residents in nursing homes are vaccinated.
On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will require all of its medical employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
They must do so within the next eight weeks. The VA is the first government agency to require employees get a shot.
According to Hennekens, the mortality rate from COVID-19 is 30 times higher than influenza and that the vaccines offer almost complete protection against hospitalization, admission to intensive care units and death.
Hennekens believes it's a step in the right direction to get more of the general population vaccinated, but it is equally is important for those numbers to be reflected in the health care population as well.