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Why are many healthcare workers refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 29% of health care workers likely would not get the vaccine.

ATLANTA — Healthcare workers are among the first in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but many across the country are refusing.

Many of the people who care for the elderly and ill and are considered at high risk of encountering COVID-19 are hesitant. Some doctors and nurses in Georgia have indicated they may not get the vaccine for a year or more. 

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 29% of the healthcare workers questioned likely would not get the vaccine.

That Kaiser survey found that more than half of all Americans have concerns that the vaccine is too new. Despite clinical trials that found no serious side effects from the vaccine, 59% of Americans worry about just that.

RELATED: 'Sitting in freezers': Georgia expanding vaccine access because many rural healthcare workers won't take it

Dr. Shanta Dube of Georgia State University’s School of Public Health says it’s reasonable that the attitudes of healthcare workers would reflect that of the rest of the country.

“They’re also people,” said Dr. Dube. “They have training but they also have their own considerations. Even though they’re in health care and have that knowledge, they’re going to have their own trepidation.”

It’s not just healthcare workers. Georgia is now offering the vaccine to law enforcement officers. Some police and fire departments have started campaigns to convince those who are hesitant to get the vaccine.

Some healthcare workers have expressed that their jobs don’t bring them in close contact with the elderly or ill and they’re willing to let others go ahead of them in line.

Dr. Dube has a message for all Americans about the vaccine.

“While there are personal concerns I want to emphasize the proper measures taken toward monitoring safety,” said Dr. Dube. “Safety concerns are always taken into consideration when vaccines are delivered.”

Another Kaiser survey reports that roughly half of those questioned who know someone who has been vaccinated will get the vaccine as soon as they can, while only 37% of those who do not know of someone vaccinated are eager for their own shot.