Half of Unvaccinated Workers Would Rather Quit than Get a Shot?

Are workplace vaccine mandates prompting some employees to quit rather than get a shot?

Amid fears of new variants emerging and evading COVID-19 vaccines, health experts are repeatedly pointing out that being fully vaccinated is very different from being unvaccinated.

A hospital in Lowville, New York, for example, had to shut down its maternity ward when dozens of staffers left their jobs rather than get vaccinated. At least 125 employees at Indiana University Health resigned after refusing to take the vaccine.

Several other surveys have shown that as many as half of unvaccinated workers insist they would leave their jobs if forced to get the shot, which has raised alarms among some that more mandates could lead to an exodus of workers in many industries.

“We have to be very clear about who we’re talking about,” Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, said on Yahoo Finance Live.

“The Delta variant is extraordinarily dangerous for the unvaccinated, and it presents a problem for the vaccinated that the previous variant did not, but they’re not in the same ballpark. When we see the implications of most breakthrough infections, it is a small fraction of the problem that we saw without vaccination.”

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According to an analysis of 38 states and D.C. by the New York Times, unvaccinated Americans in those states were five times more likely than vaccinated Americans to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and eight times more likely to die.

A CDC study found that between May 1 and July 25, 2021, unvaccinated residents of Los Angeles County, California, were 29 times more likely to be hospitalized by COVID-19 than their fully vaccinated counterparts.

A study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in June 2021, found that 16% of employed respondents would quit, start looking for other employment, or both if their employer instituted a mandate.

Among those who said they were “vaccine-hesitant” – almost a quarter of respondents – we found that 48% would quit or look for another job.

Other polls have shown similar results. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey put the share of workers who would quit at 50%.

However, actually quitting a job could mean losing a paycheck you and your family may depend upon is another matter.

And based on a sample of companies that already have vaccine mandates in place, the actual number who do resign rather than get the vaccine is much smaller than the survey data suggest.

Recommended Read: Vaccine Resistance to Mu Variant May Enforce Full Lockdown

Houston Methodist Hospital, for example, required its 25,000 workers to get a vaccine by June 7. Before the mandate, about 15% of its employees were unvaccinated.

By mid-June, that percentage had dropped to 3% and hit 2% by late July.

A total of 153 workers were fired or resigned, while another 285 were granted medical or religious exemptions and 332 were allowed to defer it.

Research shows it helps if companies engage trusted messengers including doctors, colleagues, and family to share information on the vaccine.

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