Available data suggests low refusal rates

By: Derek Staahl

Health experts in San Diego County cautioned that refusal data is often more complex than it appears.

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In some pockets of the country, large numbers of healthcare workers have turned down the COVID-19 vaccine, raising concerns about the rollout and the prospect of vaccine hesitancy.

However, in San Diego County, the available data suggests low refusal rates among frontline healthcare workers, although in some cases healthcare providers are collecting their numbers in a way that make them difficult to assess.

Refusal rates among healthcare workers in some Southern California counties have generated significant attention in recent weeks. Orange County’s health agency director said about 30 percent of healthcare employees in that county had so far refused the vaccine. An estimated 50 percent of the healthcare workers in Riverside County had declined.

Since healthcare workers face the greatest risks from COVID-19 and are at the highest priority for vaccination, refusals at those rates might imply distrust with the vaccine. But health experts in San Diego County cautioned that refusal data is often more complex than it appears. The numbers can be inflated by staff who have delayed the vaccine rather than flatly denying it, or by employees who received a vaccination elsewhere.

In some cases healthcare workers delay the vaccine because they’ve already had COVID-19.

“We don’t need to direct vaccine to people who are already theoretically immune. So our policy has been, along with the CDC, that you can defer in those people for 90 days,” said Dr. Christian Ramers, assistant medical director of Family Health Centers of San Diego.

Keep reading on 10news.com…