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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Many hospital workers in Baton Rouge decline COVID vaccine

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BATON ROUGE- Numbers obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit from area hospitals in Baton Rouge show, on average, 47% of hospitals' healthcare workers have declined the COVID 19 vaccine.

More than half have accepted the vaccine when offered. 

The numbers include all clinical and non-clinical workers who are employed by Our Lady of the Lake, Ochsner, Baton Rouge General and Woman's.  A healthcare worker, according to those hospitals, is someone who is employed and can range from a janitor, cafeteria worker, to a nurse or doctor.

Vaccination experts have said the COVID vaccine is safe and effective.  The hospital groups believe workers across Louisiana have a host of reasons for not taking the vaccine, not necessarily a medical concern.  Some opted out to give their dose to someone more needy, hospitals said. 

Here are the vaccine numbers from large Baton Rouge hospitals: 

(Includes Baton Rouge, Ascension, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Monroe and Jackson, Mississippi)
18,000 employees system wide
9,750 vaccines given
54% of the system's healthcare workers got the vaccine.
*OLOL said it only would provide numbers system wide and would not break it down to Baton Rouge and Ascension.

3,500 employees
1,933 vaccines given
55% of healthcare workers got the vaccine

2,000 employees
1,052 vaccines given
53% of healthcare workers got the vaccine.

2,600 employees & medical staff
No immediate number on vaccines given
50% of workers accepted the vaccine 

*Some Woman's doctors also work at other hospitals and may have been vaccinated elsewhere

Dr. Joseph Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health called the statistics concerning.

"It is a safe vaccine," Kanter said. "It's an advantageous vaccine. As far as vaccines go. The two we have now are really home runs and it pains me when a healthcare provider is putting themselves on the line, they deprive themselves of that opportunity."

The WBRZ Investigative Unit requested the numbers of how many physicians each hospital had and how many of the physicians declined the vaccine. All three hospitals did not provide that information as of now.

Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards once again urged everyone who can to take the vaccine.

"The only way we put this pandemic behind us is to have a sufficient percentage of our population vaccinated, and we know these vaccines are safe and effective," Edwards said.

It's important to note that just because an employee declined the vaccine when it was offered to them does not mean they won't be vaccinated at a later date.


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