Since the development of the COVID-19 vaccine began, Americans have found themselves in a heated debate about whether workplaces should require their employees to get vaccinated. For organizations that work primarily with high-risk individuals, the issue becomes even more important, as these individuals are more likely to deal with serious adverse effects after contracting the virus.
According to new findings from caregiver support resource Caring.com, only 50% of caregivers for the elderly are fully vaccinated, while 22% haven't started the process.
Over half (54%) of those who are unvaccinated stated they wouldn't get the vaccine, even at the risk of losing their job, and of that group, another 28% would refuse increased testing as an alternative.
Safety, effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine top concerns among unvaccinated respondents
The Caring.com survey also found that only 23% of unvaccinated caregivers would get the vaccine if mandated by their employer. Some of the top reasons why unvaccinated survey participants refuse to take action include:
- Concerns about the safety of the shot (29%)
- Concerns about the effectiveness of the shot (22%)
- The belief that they still have antibodies from previously contracting the virus (15%)
- The elderly that they care for already being vaccinated (14%)
- Their medical conditions (12%)
Similarly, a previous survey from Perceptyx showed that 6 in 10 workers had concerns about potential side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, one of the most concerning findings from the survey was the number of unvaccinated caregivers that didn't believe in the pandemic or in the consequences of catching COVID-19. Caring.com discovered that about 1 in 10 of these respondents refused to get the vaccine because they thought that the COVID-19 pandemic was a hoax (11%) or that it wasn't dangerous enough to warrant an actual health crisis (11%).
17% of unvaccinated caregivers don't follow any COVID-19 safety protocols at all
When assessing the other precautions caregivers took against catching and spreading COVID-19, unvaccinated individuals were much more likely to ignore pandemic-related health protocols than their vaccinated counterparts.
Over half of all respondents reported wearing masks (60%) and socially distancing in public and around at-risk individuals (56%). However, the survey also indicated unvaccinated survey participants were less likely than fully vaccinated ones to follow these practices, including:
- Wear masks in public and around at-risk individuals (47% versus 66%)
- Socially distance in public and around at-risk individuals (43% versus 63%)
- Avoid large crowds (41% versus 60%)
- Avoid contact with those outside their immediate household (40% versus 46%)
And while 7% of vaccinated respondents said they don't follow any precautions, that percentage more than doubled for unvaccinated ones (17%) — increasing their likelihood of contracting the virus and passing it on to those they get into contact with.
These actions may also be putting greater stress on other care providers and contributing to greater clinician burnout: A different survey from Wheel indicated that 80% of health care patients felt their provider seemed stressed or overwhelmed during their visit — feelings that may have been exacerbated by the public's defiance of basic pandemic-era precautions.
Methodology: Caring.com conducted a survey of 1,000 private caregivers and 1,000 professional caregivers via Pollfish from Aug. 9-11, 2021.