LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A number of Southern California healthcare workers have reservations about the COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use, according to a new survey from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
"Two-thirds of the health workers that we surveyed wished to delay vaccination or not get vaccinated," Dr. Anne Rimoin, the senior author of the study, said Monday.
She said the survey collected data from about 600 workers between mid-September and the end of October.
The union that represents UCLA nurses, along with many others, said its members were not against vaccinations on the whole, with more than 90% getting annual flu shots.
"What we've been demanding all along is safety and efficacy must be the primary considerations for the deployment of any vaccine," Michelle Mahon, a nursing practice representative with National Nurses United, said.
The UCLA survey found that the majority of workers felt the vaccines were rushed out of Operation Warp Speed. But infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Galpin, who worked at the National Institutes of Health with Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the new vaccines rely on genetic coding instead of weakened versions of the virus like immunizations of the past.
"We've been watching the virus for 50 years, so this isn't new," Galpin said. "What we've done is taken newer technology, accelerated it."
Rimoin said scientists and governments have been working on the synthetic technology for well over a decade and the results have been reviewed at the federal and state levels.
"Healthcare workers are critical," Rimoin said. "They are not only the first people to get this vaccine, but they will be administering this vaccine and then giving advice to the public about getting the vaccine."
And when it comes to mandating that workers get the vaccine, employment lawyer and USC professor Thomas Lenz said it would likely be legally allowed.
"Generally speaking, an employer will probably be able to require vaccine," he said, adding that workers would be able to get an exemption based on religious beliefs or disabilities.
CBS Los Angeles reached out to a handful of the largest hospital groups in Southern California — including UCLA — which all said they did not plan to put a COVID-19 vaccination requirement in place.
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