San Diego Health Care Workers Weigh in After California Requires Workers to be Vaccinated

It’s a move that’s getting mixed reviews, but the state health department says recent outbreaks in health care settings have frequently been traced to unvaccinated staff members

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In less than two months, all indoor healthcare facility workers in California must be fully vaccinated or workers could lose their job.

According to the state health department, California is currently experiencing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases during the entire pandemic -- with “case rates increasing ninefold within two months”.

The department also said increasing numbers of health care workers are among the new positive cases, despite vaccinations being prioritized for this group when vaccines initially became available in December.

Jenevieve Kagaoan is the lead mammographer at Scripps Polster Breast Care Center in La Jolla.

“I absolutely support it,” Kagaoan said.

She said this new COVID-19 vaccine mandate is no different than other health care facility requirements.

“We have to be CRP certified, we have to have an annual TB skin test, we have to complete learning modules and complete education units,” Kagaoan said. “This is just another mandatory requirement to go along with your jobs that ensures you are capable and ready to take care of people.”

Kagaoan also pointed to the Hippocratic oath and said most health care workers vow to protect their patients.

“Our job is to help people and do no harm and I just can’t see being a healthcare worker and not getting vaccinated," she said.

But other nurses – who wish to remain anonymous -- want the right to choose.

One Scripps nurse told NBC 7, “We should have autonomy over our own bodies.”

Another nurse said “It's wrong. I feel it's an indirect way of segregating and trying to get those not vaccinated, vaccinated.”

A third registered nurse at Ambulator Surgery Center said, “I strongly disagree with the mandatory vaccine for healthcare workers. I believe that we should have the freedom to choose. Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated can transmit COVID-19.”

Workers with religious beliefs or qualifying medical reasons are exempt and will be tested weekly.

“We hold onto the personal freedoms and I understand that because that’s what this country is about, but there are times when the greater good takes precedent and in extenuating circumstances like this, I think everybody needs to do their part,” Kagaoan said.

Now, the question is, come Sept. 30, how many health care workers will have their shots, and if workers refuse, could this put more strain on our healthcare systems?

Only one of the nurses we spoke with said she is not going to get vaccinated at this time. The other two are still deciding.

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