How low is the nation’s confidence level in the safety of the new COVID vaccines at this point? Well… it’s this low. This story comes to us from Oak Valley Hospital in Oakdale, California. As with most medical facilities, Oak Valley’s doctors and nurses were in the “1A” group, first in line for getting vaccinations. The problem was, much as we’ve seen with other medical professionals (particularly in California, for some reason), a significant number of their workers were not rolling up their sleeves to participate. That’s when the administrators at the facility came up with a new plan. If we can’t win over their hearts and minds, maybe we can just bribe them. They started offering a $300 cash “incentive” for anyone who would come forward to take the shot. (CBS Sacramento)
We’ve already seen many hesitating before vaccinating. Even some frontline workers are resisting it.
That’s what prompted local hospital officials to come up with the idea to pay their workers to get the shots…
That’s when hospital officials decided to offer $300 incentives to workers with documentation showing they got the second dose.
“We want our employees to stay safe and we believe in the vaccine,” said CEO John McCormick.
It wasn’t just a few people not showing up to be vaccinated. It was more than half. Only 40% of the workers at Oak Valley were vaccinated after the initial doses arrived. Some of the vials were going to waste after they were removed from refrigeration without enough volunteers to use them all up.
Isn’t the management worried about the optics and how the locals would react when they found out the workers who would be vaccinating them had to be bribed into doing it? Their CEO, John McCormick., is trying to put a more positive spin on things. “We don’t look at it as bribing. We look at it more as care and a positive incentive,” said McCormick.
Well, that’s one way to look at it, I suppose. As to the results, they’re only a week into the program at this point so it’s hard to say. McCormick told CBS News that “more people have signed up” since they started the program, but he declined to say how many more that was.
I’m not sure how much of an incentive this really is. When you’re talking about doctors and nurses, those aren’t minimum wage jobs. They tend to make pretty decent money. Is $300 really going to tempt that many of them to cross the line? This is particularly true if they are worried that the vaccines might not just be ineffective, but potentially dangerous. How many people will suddenly risk their life or their long-term health on something they weren’t previously comfortable with for three Benjamin Franklins?
Oak Valley isn’t the only place this reluctance is being reported. Up in the San Francisco Bay area, many healthcare workers are similarly refusing to be vaccinated.
“There is a lot of vaccine hesitancy among people – even among healthcare providers,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
Santa Clara County prioritized getting healthcare workers the first doses of the vaccine, an estimated workforce of 140,000.
According to an update provided to the county Board of Supervisors, roughly 52,000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated, just 37%. That’s far below the expectations when the vaccine first arrived nearly a month ago.
Santa Clara County is huge, with a very dense population. A participation rate of under 40% is just pathetic. They can describe it as “vaccine hesitancy” if they wish, but that’s not what the public is hearing when these stories show up on the evening news every night. Some parts of the population are itching to get the vaccine and wondering why they can’t have a spot in line when the group 1A people aren’t even using their own doses. Others who may be more skeptical and nervous about doing it are undoubtedly watching these events and asking why they should risk their lives when the professionals who are supposed to understand these things the best aren’t willing to do it. Either way, this isn’t the “smooth rollout” that state and local governments have been promising. Not by a long shot.