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Ethics In The Nursing Field: When Medical Professionals Refuse The COVID Shot


COVID-19 has been spreading across the United States since early 2020. The country has gone through quarantines, lockdowns, and mandated masking in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Now that the vaccine is widely available, it is hopeful that many people—particularly those in the healthcare field—would get the shot.

Many employers are mandating that employees get vaccinated. While it would be expected that healthcare workers—the ones who have to treat COVID patients—would be the first in line to get the vaccine, this hasn’t been the case. While physicians were hugely in favor of the vaccine, many nurses are forgoing the shot for various reasons, including a lack of safety data and concern about serious side effects.

This is a serious issue in nursing homes, where COVID was once spreading rapidly. The good news is that more than 80% of residents have received the vaccine. The problem is that nursing home staff members aren’t getting vaccinated. While the actual percentage varies from one nursing home to another, the national rate is just 55%. At one nursing home, just 16% of staff members were vaccinated.

This is not only appalling, but it can also be considered an ethics violation, especially when lives are at risk. Patients should not have to worry that the nurses and other medical professionals who are treating them may be carrying the COVID virus.

Why is the healthcare industry taking so long to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations? The main fear is that nurses will quit if they are being forced to do something they don’t want to do. Many nurses have already quit during the pandemic due to having to work long hours and a constant fear of getting the coronavirus. Another reason is that medical workers are waiting for the vaccine to be fully approved by the FDA.

While some healthcare organizations are mandating that staff members get the COVID vaccine, it could be months before everyone complies. By then, the face of COVID could change. We now have the Delta variant of the virus. There could be yet another strain of the virus in a few months’ time.

While some may claim that mandating vaccinations is a violation of their rights, as healthcare professionals, not getting vaccinated is unethical. When health care workers get their licenses, they vow to serve in their patients’ best interests. They pledge to use their knowledge and skills to create the best medical outcomes for patients. Mandating that they get vaccinated is just an extension of that pledge.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Nursing License Lawyer

Nurses have to abide by ethical guidelines. Many would say it is unethical for them to treat COVID patients if they aren’t even vaccinated against the virus themselves.

Tampa nursing license lawyer David P. Rankin is there to help nurses and other licensed professionals who are facing license suspension or revocation. He can help defend your case so you can keep your license. Schedule a consultation today by calling (813) 968-6633 or filling out the online form.