A new survey finds a growing number of North Carolina nurses are willing to take the coronavirus vaccine, but many still have lingering reservations.
The survey of 430 nurses was conducted by the North Carolina Nurses Association from Dec. 10 - 14. It found 57% of nurses said they would be comfortable taking a COVID-19 vaccine.
That's up from October, when the American Nurses Association reported the number closer to 34% nationally, but it's still not as high as some would like.
"Am I concerned? Absolutely. Yes. Would I like for that number to be much higher? Yes. Absolutely," said Dr. Dennis Taylor, president of the North Carolina Nurses Association.
He said of the 17% of nurses who said they were not comfortable taking the vaccine, and the 27% who were unsure, most said they wanted more information.
"A lot of them wanted to see the actual data from the trials in terms of what the safety profile is," Taylor said. "Others just wanted to see what the long-term effects were going to be."
He said his association will try to get more of that information out, because he wants nurses to be the ones setting an example for the rest of the population.
Among the survey's other findings:
- 60% of respondents said they were comfortable talking with their patients about the COVID-19 vaccine. 22% said they were not comfortable. 18% said they were unsure.
- 61% said they believe hospitals should be doing weekly COVID-19 testing for healthcare staff, including nurses. 25% said they do not believe hospitals should be doing weekly COVID-19 tests. 15% said they were unsure.
The survey also included an open comment section that encouraged nurses to write about what they needed right now. Many reported feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out, Taylor said.
"You can feel the stress that this is putting on someone who is taking care of these patients day in and day out," Taylor said. "Especially with the shortage that we have in nursing in our state right now, a lot of nurses are feeling overworked, and they're really concerned about their own safety and the safety of their family members."
The association said the public can help prevent the spread of the virus and overcrowding at hospitals by continuing to follow social distancing guidelines and other health measures, such as wearing face coverings in public.