Nearly 30% of Vanderbilt workers have not registered for the COVID-19 vaccine, most among minorities

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — They have been on the front lines of the pandemic, often urging the public to get vaccinated, but not all health care workers are heeding their own advice.

“We need to have all of the people who share the same airspace as us, immunized as much as we possibly can, and that why it concerns me when I hear that 30 percent of our employees have not even signed up yet,” explained Dr. Walter Clair.

Dr. Clair is the Vice-Chair of Diversity & Inclusion at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He has been working throughout the hospital, encouraging people to trust in the science behind the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a recent publication from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Jeff Balser, the President and CEO of the Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University wrote, “nearly 30 percent of our co-workers have not registered for vaccination.”

It’s a statement that has Dr. Clair worried.

“It was discouraging, particularly because a number of my colleges, professional colleges, physicians, and nurses, as well as non-direct healthcare providers, agreed to participate in the studies,” said Dr. Clair.

He explained the number is not the biggest cause of concern. Within that 30 percent, he says you have to consider the number of people who are not around patients. For example, he says to look at those who are working outside of the office, those in the cafeteria, or cleaning crews. Still, he says, members of the Vanderbilt community should be on one accord.

The Vanderbilt publication showed a majority of those saying they are not signing up for the vaccine are African American or Hispanic, “in no small part, their concerns arise from historical abuses of minority populations in both clinical studies and healthcare practice, in this country and around the world,” wrote Dr. Balser.

“I think part of the reason why [is] because there was a sense around people that there was a rush, rush, rush to get it made. Moderna study and the Pfizer study specifically went out to recruit a number of people of color to be in those vaccine trails,” said Dr. Clair.

Doctors like Dr. Clair are now hoping their fellow staff members will properly assess the risks and benefits of taking the vaccine, in order to provide a unified message to the public.

Dr. Clair says in an effort to calm the fears, especially among minorities, he is making it a point to share his own story of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, hoping to will reveal their experience in choosing to take the vaccine.

From availability to current phases, find vaccine information for every Tennessee county using News 2’s Vaccine Tracker map.

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