Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday claimed that many doctors, nurses and other paramedical staffers were hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine shots scheduled on Saturday, which it said was worrisome.
President DAK, Dr Nisar ul Hassan said in a statement that vaccine hesitancy among the healthcare workers is a “major concern”.
“Vaccine hesitancy – which encompasses delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccine, will pose a serious problem,” he said.
Dr Nisar said the hesitancy was all the more roubling given the fact that healthcare workers are at higher risk of contracting the virus.”Their sickness would mean disruption of healthcare delivery system,” he added.
The DAK President said such medical staff would “imperil patients by snubbing COVID-19 vaccine shots”.
He warned that the unvaccinated staff had the potential to transmit the disease to patients who are vulnerable to COVID-19 related complications.
The vaccine-hesitant attitude among medical professionals, he said, “might percolate down to the general population”.
He stated that the idea of vaccinating healthcare providers first is to help pave way for broader vaccine acceptance.
The DAK President suggested that the healthcare workers, rather than hesitating to receive the shots, should be educating public about the importance of vaccine.
He said the health professionals needto play an important role in fostering vaccine acceptance among vaccine-hesitants.”But if they are themselves reluctant for the vaccine, they are unlikely to address the fears of vaccine-hesitant people,” Dr Nisar said.
He further warned that if the vaccine hesitancy is not addressed, “it could mean we could be seeing outbreak for years.”
“We can’t just write off somebody’s decision and say well that is their personal decision. Because it is not their personal decision, it is about the whole community,” he said.
The DAK President warned that vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers will have implications on vaccine coverage among the population.
He underscored the need to vaccinate as many population as possible in order to stop the pandemic. “The sooner we can get more people vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to some semblance of normalcy,” he said.
The DAK President asked healthcare workers to be “conscious of their responsibility and act as role models for the society”. “They should come forward to take the jab because it is the only way to end the pandemic,” he said.