FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Large numbers of healthcare workers in North Texas with a spot at the front of the line for a Covid-19 vaccine, are either still waiting in line, or have decided not to roll up their sleeves just yet.
Several agencies including hospital networks, ambulance services and fire departments contacted by CBS 11 Monday, Jan. 4, reported that at most roughly half their staff had received vaccinations so far.
Some were still navigating a system of appointments and lines to confirm eligibility.
Others said staff were opting not to receive the vaccine yet.
Some agencies said more workers who waited during the initial rollout last month, were now showing interest.
They expected participation numbers to climb over the next several weeks and months.
The Arlington Fire Department estimated roughly half of its staff had received the vaccine so far. Cook Children’s Healthcare also estimated about half of its staff had received shots.
JPS Health Network had vaccinated 3,355 employees as of Monday morning, just under half its total staff.
MedStar Mobile Health had 142 of its employee receive the vaccine, about 29% of its total staff but about half of the ambulance agency’s frontline eligible employees.
The Fort Worth Fire Department’s latest estimate from last week was that about 100 firefighters, roughly 10% of its positions, had received the vaccine.
Some agencies indicated staff members were still navigating appointment portals and dealing with long waits in line to receive their dose.
MedStar expected waits for its staff would end later this week, after being designated as official distributor of the vaccine and an allocation of doses.
Some frontline staff are also choosing not to get the vaccine right away. An informal survey of Fort Worth firefighters before the rollout, showed they were split down the middle on whether to receive the vaccine once it was available.
Dr. Erika Thompson, a professor in the department of Health Behavior at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, has researched vaccine decision-making.
“I think you point out the fact that healthcare workers are people too, so they have some of the similar concerns that the general public may have, and they’re individuals with their own sets of beliefs and perspectives about their own healthcare,” she said.
Thompson expected sources of trusted information about vaccine outcomes and effects, including provider recommendations, would continue to be important as the vaccine becomes more widely available.
“I don’t think this is going to be a one and done,” she said. “It’s going to be an ongoing conversation that will continue for COVID-19.”
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