- In a recent survey published by the American Medical Association, 96 percent of practicing physicians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Among all surveyed physicians, there was no significant difference in the various demographic groups including primary care versus specialties, region, gender, age, and race.
- Some health systems have required COVID-19 vaccination for all employees amid efforts to end this pandemic as quickly as possible.
The number of people who are getting their COVID-19 vaccine is increasing daily, helping to put this pandemic in the past.
And a group at the top of the list for vaccination rate? Physicians.
In a recent survey published by the American Medical Association (AMA), 96 percent of practicing physicians have been fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
This survey was offered to physicians between June 3 and June 8, 2021, through a WebMD platform.
Of the 301 participants, 150 were primary care specialties including family medicine, internal medicine, general medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. The remaining were of other specialties.
Among all surveyed physicians, there was no significant difference in the various demographic groups including primary care versus specialties, region, gender, age, and race.
“This statistic does not surprise me at all,” said Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, director of global health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York.
“I find that doctors understand the vaccine data the best and are able to make the most informed decision regarding vaccination. I also think the overwhelming numbers show you that this really isn’t a controversy or unclear decision — the data is very clear in the protective benefits of vaccination,” Cioe-Pena said.
Surveys like this help give insight into the mindset of the most educated clinicians in healthcare. Physicians have dedicated decades to the study of human health sciences, and it is reassuring to hear that so many quickly received their vaccines.
As an emergency room physician, having a firsthand view of the devastation of this virus made getting this vaccine a simple decision, not only for myself but for my family at home.
I was in line within days of the vaccine becoming available to healthcare workers.
Dr. Teresa Murray Amato, chair of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in Queens, New York, told Healthline that physicians are vaccinated at a much higher percentage than the general public due to multiple reasons.
When the vaccines were first introduced, they were available to healthcare workers first, so that group had more time to get them in recent months.
“In addition, most physicians have easy access to either vaccine centers or large health systems that were utilized as vaccine sites early on. Lastly, most physicians make decisions based on data and belief or trust in science,” she said.
Of the 4 percent of surveyed physicians who have not been vaccinated yet, only 1.8 percent do not plan on getting vaccinated at all.
There are various reasons why people cannot get vaccinated, including active therapy for some cancers, patients undergoing care with experimental medications, and people with severe allergies to some of the vaccine’s components.
Many Americans look to physicians as trusted sources of information for health-related concerns. And patients start to feel comforted with the fact that their physicians so quickly received the vaccine and that it may be safe for them as well.
American Medical Association President Susan R. Bailey, MD, said, “Practicing physicians across the country are leading by example, with an amazing uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines,” in a statement by the AMA.
“Physicians and clinicians are uniquely positioned to listen to and validate patient concerns, and one of the most powerful anecdotes a physician can offer is that they themselves have been vaccinated,” Bailey said.
Some health systems have even gone so far as to require COVID-19 vaccination for all employees amid efforts to end this pandemic as quickly as possible.
Although most physicians have received their vaccinations, not all healthcare workers have. These groups, which often make headlines, can make the vaccine appear to be more controversial in the medical world than it actually is.
Recently, almost 200 employees from Houston Methodist Hospital were terminated for not complying with this mandate. While these employees made headlines, it hides the fact that they make up 0.5 percent of the employees and that over 24,000 hospital employees were vaccinated for COVID-19, according to CNN.
Houston Methodist Hospital employees had the deadline of midnight on June 7 to get the vaccine as part of the health system’s mandate. A lawsuit filed to the lawfulness and validity of this mandate was recently dismissed by a judge.
Many physicians in healthcare have been working hard to encourage everyone to get their vaccine, as they have been working tirelessly to end the pandemic and find it discouraging when people are vaccine-hesitant.
People who may be skeptical of the vaccine may be reassured by the number of healthcare workers who were vaccinated.
“As we slowly come into the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we continue to try and understand each individual’s viewpoint while also balancing the global effectiveness of high COVID-19 vaccine utilization,” said Amato.
Cioe-Pena said medical providers can help assuage people’s concerns about the vaccines and boost vaccination numbers.
“I do think that most people once they’ve had a conversation with a knowledgeable medical provider don’t really have any objections to vaccination,” Cioe-Pena said. “Remember that this is the first vaccine where we have very fresh memories of what life without the vaccine was like — it is truly night and day.”
Rajiv Bahl, MD, MBA, MS, is an emergency medicine physician and health writer. You can find him at www.RajivBahlMD.com.