Vaccine scepticism among medics sparks alarm in Europe and US

Vaccine scepticism among medics sparks alarm in Europe and US

Health workers’ reluctance to have jab gives countries battling Covid another headache

Signs that a relatively high number of healthcare workers are unwilling to receive the coronavirus vaccine in some parts of Europe and the US have alarmed politicians and health experts, as countries struggle to contain a surge in infections and carry out mass vaccination.

A poll released in mid-December caused surprise in Germany — the country that has been at the forefront of the race for a vaccine with biotech company BioNTech — by showing that half of surveyed nurses did not want to be vaccinated, along with a quarter of doctors. Those worries came back to the fore this week when the head of one German state said only a third of healthcare workers in his state were willing to get the jab.

A high degree of reluctance among medical staff has also been observed in other parts of Europe and in the US. In France, 76 per cent of senior care home staff said they did not want to get vaccinated, according to a poll of 2,000 such workers carried out last month.

In Austria, only half of the staff of care facilities in the region of Vorarlberg said they were willing to be inoculated, according to Austria’s public broadcaster. The Italian Federation of Medical Professional Associations (FNOMCEO) said about 100 doctors were unwilling to receive the immunisation across the country.