Make COVID Vaccine Mandatory for Doctors?

U.S. Vaccine Safety System Still Has Gaps

May 7, 2021 — Should COVID-19 vaccinations be required for health care professionals?

WebMD polled its readers to ask that question collected 3,035 responses. Nearly two-thirds, or 66%, said yes and 34% said no. Among the yes votes, 55% believed these vaccinations should be required immediately and 11% said they should be mandatory eventually.

WebMD’s sister site, Medscape, which produces health news for medical professionals, ran a similar poll. The results were similar: 69% of 998 doctors said employers should require clinicians get COVID-19 vaccines. Within this group, 7 in 10 said vaccination should be required immediately, while 30% said the requirement should wait for full FDA approval.

In both polls, people 65 and older were the biggest proponents of requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for health care professionals.

In the WebMD poll, 25- to 34-year-olds were the only group where a majority did not believe the shots should be mandatory. Only 48% of that group agreed with that idea. Nearly three-fourths, or 73%, of people ages 55 to 64 supported such a vaccine mandate.

And vaccine status did seem to be important to readers. When asked how likely they might be to schedule a medical appointment with a doctor they know is not vaccinated, 24% responded “very likely.” Another 9% said they were likely, 20% were neutral about it, and 17% said they were unlikely.

Nearly one-third, 31%, indicated they were “very unlikely” to make such an appointment.

Among respondents, 61% said they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 48% said they were fully vaccinated.

The WebMD poll also asked people to report concerns, if any, they have with the COVID-19 vaccines. A total of 37% were concerned that the vaccine side effects would outweigh the risk of COVID-19. The same percentage reported concerns about effectiveness.

In addition, 28% reported concerns about other side effects, 27% regarding speed of development, and 26% were concerned that vaccines from some companies may be better than those from others.

The seven-question WebMD poll ran online from April 27 to May 3.

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