60% of nursing home staff in Ohio are refusing to get vaccinated, according to the state governor

Mike DeWine gives his victory speech after winning the Ohio gubernatorial race at the Ohio Republican Party's election night party at the Sheraton Capitol Square on November 6, 2018 Justin Merriman/Getty Images
  • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said that 60% of nursing home staff there don't want to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • "We aren't going to make them, but we wish they had a higher compliance," said DeWine at a press conference.

  • According to the Covid Tracking Project, 38% of all COVID-19 deaths in the US have been nursing home residents.

  • In Ohio, staff and residents of nursing homes are getting top priority for vaccines.

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Wednesday expressed concern that too few frontline healthcare staff were getting vaccinated against COVID-19, and said that 60% of nursing home staff chose not to get the shot.

"We aren't going to make them, but we wish they had a higher compliance, DeWine said at a press conference Wednesday, according to The Columbus Dispatch. 

"Our message today is the train may not be coming back for a while."

DeWine said he wanted to instill a "sense of urgency" among those eligible for the shot.

"I'm not satisfied with where we are in Ohio," he said. "We're not moving fast enough, but we're going to get there."

DeWine did not say why so many nursing home workers were not to receive the vaccination.

Peter van Runkle, executive director at the Ohio Health Care Association, told Business Insider that social media misinformation was among the factors leading to care home staff avoiding the vaccine.

He said people feared the vaccine was "too new and was rushed through the process. The government is trying to do something to me - implant a microchip or do something else harmful. It will sterilize me. It will give me COVID-19. All manner of things from social media.

"Then we have a group who are just against vaccines in general, whether it is for COVID or anything else.

"Another group already had COVID and thinks they don't need the vaccine.

"Probably the biggest fear is the unknown. How sick will it make me? How long will it last?"

Getting staff at nursing homes vaccinated is one of the top priorities for public health officials, and Van Runkle said the agency was redoubling efforts to change the narrative around the virus.

Residents of nursing homes account for 38% of all US deaths from the virus, according to the COVID Tracking Project, launched by The Atlantic magazine.

In recent weeks the number of nursing home COVID-19 deaths in Ohio has spiked, per The Columbus Dispatch, underscoring the urgency of getting staff vaccinated.

The two vaccines that have been approved for use by federal government health regulators are being rolled out in Ohio in partnership with pharmacies including Walgreens and CVS.

Older adults and teachers are next to receive the vaccine in the state after frontline healthcare workers, according to Ohio's vaccination plan.

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