With a number of companies claiming to be making breakthroughs during COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, many healthcare workers plan on delaying taking the first batch of vaccines, according to a study from UCLA and polls from the American Nurses Association. The first coronavirus immunizations could come as soon as December 12, according to the head of the Federal Vaccine Development Program.
According to the American Nurses Association poll, 34% of nurses say they plan to get the vaccine while 36% say no and 31% are unsure.
“I’ve heard the term "guinea pig" thrown around, that they don't want to be the guinea pig for an untested vaccine," explained Michael Kennedy, a representative for the California Nurses Association and San Diego ICU nurse, according to NBC San Diego. "There is some level of just distrust among nurses because of how this pandemic unfolded and how the federal response was bungled and how we were just left to fend for ourselves for such a long time.”
Most vaccines take years to develop, while the potential coronavirus vaccines are being fast-tracked to nine months, drawing the most concern from healthcare workers.
“What's not changing is the amount of data that's collected on safety and effectiveness. You know that the clinical trials that have been completed and have at least 30,000 people, and that's the number that we always get with a vaccine clinical trial. So I am already reassured by the information that's come out so far that there's no serious side effect," said Mark Sawyer, M.D, a Rady Children’s Hospital infectious disease specialist. "Well, I think for the foreseeable future, the vaccine is our only hope to get COVID under control. Clearly, we haven't been able to do it just with masks and social distancing.”
According to the CDC’s website, California health care workers are required to get some immunizations, including flu shots, though there are some exceptions, but it is unknown whether the coronavirus vaccine will be required for California health care workers.