WEDNESDAY, June 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Among health care system employees, there are considerable disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates by race/ethnicity and occupation, according to a research letter published online June 15 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

J. Daryl Thornton, M.D., M.P.H., from the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, and colleagues examined the correlation between social and demographic characteristics of health care workers and receipt of vaccination among 7,865 employees of the MetroHealth System, which includes a hospital, skilled-nursing and rehabilitation facilities, and ambulatory clinics.

The researchers found that 40.3 percent of the study population had one or more severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 tests recorded, and 801 employees had a positive result. Overall, 57.9 percent of the employees had received the first dose of vaccine during the period of observation. Increased probability of being vaccinated was seen among employees older than 44 years, men, Whites, and Asians in a multivariable analysis. During the period of vaccination, the differences in the rate of vaccination by race and ethnicity increased. Employees at the main hospital were more likely to be vaccinated. The highest probability of being vaccinated was seen for physicians, dentists, and psychologists, followed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants, while vaccination was least likely among clinical nurses, support staff, and workers at skilled-nursing and rehabilitation facilities.

“Vaccination rates of health care system employees during the COVID-19 pandemic were less than ideal, particularly among certain groups at high risk for occupational exposure,” the authors write. “Further work is needed to improve vaccination rates of health care system employees.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Global Health Metrics LLC and to the publishing industry.

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