Local healthcare systems weigh in on vaccine refusal rates


As COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available to frontline healthcare workers, some people are opting out.

Local healthcare systems in Erie County expect the vaccination rate to increase with more cases on the rise.

Healthcare systems in Erie County are not requiring frontline employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, since the vaccine is being distributed on a weekly basis, more employees are interested.

Some frontline healthcare workers are opting out of the long awaited COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have about 40% who participated in the first clinic. We’re hopeful more will join us in the second clinic,” said Tim Coughlin, Co-Owner of West Lake Woods Assisted Living.

Coughlin said that approximately 25 employees at the assisted care center received their vaccine, leaving the facility at a 40% vaccination rate.

However, 100% of residents got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

While there is no mandatory vaccine protocol, more than 80% of employees at UPMC Hamot have received the vaccine.

“I think part of it is that those that don’t accept, doesn’t mean they are refusing. Maybe they’re waiting for more data,” said Jason Chenault, Director of Emergency Services at UPMC Hamot.

Over at AHN Saint Vincent, health officials said they’ve seen an uptick in those receiving the vaccine.

“There’s been some hesitation or reluctancy maybe because it was new or a time of the holidays, but the interest has grown,” said Chris Clark, President of AHN Saint Vincent.

AHN Saint Vincent has vaccinated more than 80% of their frontline healthcare workers.

Both hospital systems are still waiting for more vaccination supplies from the state department of health. Then they will be able to book appointments with people of certain medical conditions.

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