COVID-19: 30% of healthcare personnel in US hospitals remain unvaccinated

Vaccination rates among healthcare workers across 2,000 United States hospitals increased from 36% to 60% between January and April 2021.
Rates slowed considerably thereafter, with only 70% of staff fully vaccinated as of September 2021.
Healthcare personnel working in children’s hospitals and metropolitan areas have the highest vaccination rates.
Following the initial peak of COVID-19 vaccine uptake among healthcare personnel (HCP) in the U.S. hospital system in early 2021, rates quickly decreased in the second half of the year. Currently, as much as 30% of HCP remain unvaccinated.

Data analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Unified Hospital Data Surveillance System from January–September 2021, collected from over 3.3 million HCP across 2,086 hospitals, found that as many as 30% of workers were unvaccinated.

A recent study in the American Journal of Infection Control examines self-reported data on vaccination status according to hospital type and location. Hannah Reses, MPH, an epidemiologist in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), led the research team.

Their analysis included children’s hospitals, short- and long-term acute care hospitals (ACH), and critical access hospitals. The study did not include psychiatric, rehabilitation, and religious non-medical facilities.

Data were then stratified by county type and whether the hospitals were in metropolitan or rural areas.

HCP working in children’s hospitals had the highest vaccination rates at 77%, followed by short- and long-term care ACHs at 70.1% and 68.8%, respectively. Critical access hospitals had vaccination rates of 64%.

Hospitals in metropolitan counties had the highest vaccination rate of 71% for HCP, followed by rural counties (65.1%), and non-metropolitan rural counties (63.3%).

Individual vaccination rates among HCP also varied according to the COVID-19 hospital admissions at their workplace and vaccination coverage within their residential counties.

HCP were 14% more likely to be fully vaccinated if they worked in hospitals in the lowest percentile of COVID-19 admissions. They were also 10% more likely to be fully vaccinated in counties with the lowest cumulative cases of COVID-19.

On the other hand, they were 32% less likely to be fully vaccinated in counties with lower community vaccine coverage.

Vaccination rates slowed after April 2021
Following the initial introduction of COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, there was a 24% absolute increase in uptake among HCP across the hospitals surveyed. From January to April 2021, rates increased from 36% to 60%. However, from April to August, the researchers saw only a 5% increase.

Notably, there was an additional 5% increase in vaccination rates from August to September 2021, which may reflect the recent rise in cases with the Delta variant or vaccine mandates in certain areas. Nevertheless, the total vaccination rate among HCP remains at just 70%.

 

 

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Vaccination rates among healthcare workers across 2,000 United States hospitals increased from 36% to 60% between January and April 2021. Rates slowed considerably thereafter, with only 70% of staff fully vaccinated as of September 2021. Healthcare personnel working in children’s hospitals and metropolitan areas have the highest vaccination rates. Following the initial peak of COVID-19…

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