Many South Carolina healthcare workers opting out of getting COVID-19 vaccine

SOUTH CAROLINA — Officials are fighting pushback from the very people who see the coronavirus up close everyday. Channel 9 learned that many healthcare workers in South Carolina are opting out of getting the vaccine.

Melanie Matney, who leads the South Carolina Hospital Association, said when the state first rolled out it’s vaccine program only 35% of professionals opted to get the shot. Frontline workers’ hesitancy is one of the reasons Gov. Henry McMaster told people to get in line or make way for somebody else.

“I think there were also challenges related to the holidays, people not wanting to get a fever over the holidays or wanting to see how people react to a 2nd dose of the vaccine,” Matney said.

Dr. David Wohl is one of the top immunologists in the country and has run vaccine trials including for the Ebola virus. He says he’s not surprised that some professionals have been hesitant to take the shot.

“Medical professionals are people, too and medical professionals are not fantastically different from the rest of the population,” Wohl said.

Frontline working opting out of getting the vaccine is a problem across the country and some entities are going out of the way to encourage employees to get vaccinated.

For example, Houston Methodist Hospital and the Los Angeles Fire Department are paying bonuses for those who roll up their sleeve.

Since the governor told people to get in line, the hospital association says the participation has risen from 35% to 50% percent, but that still leaves half dragging their feet.