Leadership | 09.10.21
Nurses Who Won't Vax Threaten Staffing Shortages
For a hospital administrator who's been dealing with nursing shortages throughout the pandemic, the dilemma of whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations is a tough one. Mandate the vaccine, and some nurses will quit. Don't mandate, and some will get the coronavirus and be unable to work. "It's a cynical question, but what gets us to losing the higher amount of staff?" remarks Alan Levine, CEO of Ballad Health, which has 21 hospitals in four states. He opted not to require vaccinations after modeling suggested he could see 15 percent of nurses leave if he did. He estimates vaccination rates hover around 50 percent among front-line nurses. So why are so many nurses opposed to getting a vaccine that studies have shown provides extraordinary protection? A large number are young females in their childbearing years, and false social media rumors persist that the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna could affect their fertility. The government temporarily pausing the rollout of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine earlier this spring due to rare cases of blood clots in women also didn't help. Others are just concerned the vaccine has been around only a short time.