Many hospital-based health care workers remain unvaccinated against COVID-19
Out of more than 3 million health care workers in more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals, 30% remained unvaccinated against COVID-19 as of Sept. 15, according to a study.
“Since health care personnel (HCP) working in hospitals play a critical role in influencing community confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and are also at increased risk of both acquiring and transmitting COVID-19 in health care settings, the CDC decided to conduct this analysis,” Hannah E. Reses, MPH, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, told Healio. “It is the most comprehensive assessment of COVID-19 vaccination rates among hospital personnel in the U.S. to date,
Reses and colleagues evaluated vaccine uptake from Jan. 20 to Sept. 15 in 41% of U.S. hospitals using data reported to HHS’s Unified Hospital Data Surveillance System, which collects data on hospital capacity and patients hospitalized with COVID-19 from all U.S. hospitals registered with CMS.
According to the study, they assessed vaccine coverage, differences in vaccine coverage by hospital type and differences in vaccine coverage by hospital urbanicity. They also investigated differences in coverage by hospital size, cumulative facility-level admissions of patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 per 100 beds, and characteristics of the county where the facility is located, including cumulative cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 per 100,000 population and COVID-19 vaccination coverage among county residents.
The study showed that among the 3,357,348 HCP in 2,086 facilities included in the analysis, 70% were fully vaccinated as of Sept. 15. Further analysis showed that vaccine coverage was highest among HCP in children’s hospitals (77%), followed by short-term acute-care hospitals (70.1%), long-term acute-care hospitals (68.8%) and critical access hospitals (64%).
Additionally, the researchers found that the odds of someone being fully vaccinated were slightly higher if they worked in a hospital with lower cumulative admissions of patients with COVID-19 compared with higher cumulative admissions (adjusted OR = 1.14; 95% CI, 1.09, 1.2). Similarly, they noted a small increase in the odds of HCP vaccination if the county the hospital was located in had lower vs. higher cumulative cases of patients with COVID-19 (aOR = 1.1; 95% CI, 1.04, 1.17), as well as if the hospital had lower vs. higher community COVID-19 vaccine coverage (aOR = 0.68; 95% CI, 0.64, 0.73).
“It’s critical to improve vaccine coverage among HCP to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to patients and other staff in hospitals,” Reses said. “The findings suggest that additional efforts, like vaccine mandates and investments in educational and promotional activities, may be needed to help increase vaccine coverage among HCP to better protect public health.”