Healthcare workers experience the same inequities in receiving COVID-19 vaccines as the general public, according to a new study by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers. A hypothetical 50-year old white male doctor in the Northeast who earns more than $200,000 a year had a 45 percent chance of being vaccinated, for example, while a 45-year old Black female nursing assistant in the South earning less than $50,000 had only a 6 percent chance, mirroring society as a whole, the survey found.
The gender divide was equally stark, as males in the healthcare industry were twice as likely to be inoculated as women (18 percent vs. 9 percent), mostly because more men are doctors, researchers found. Women, who make up a larger proportion of nurses and home health aides, were considerably more skeptical than men (27 percent to 13 percent) about getting vaccinated.
“Doctors at these hospitals aren’t trying to talk to the nurses and the janitors about why they should be convinced of the safety of vaccines,” explains David Lazer, university distinguished professor of political science and computer and information sciences at Northeastern, and one of the researchers who conducted the study.