In California, a Mix of Support and Resistance to New Vaccine Rules
Healthcare workers say that in their workplaces, too, resistance is surprisingly hardened. Dr Frank Candela, a surgeon at West Hills Hospital in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, said the vaccine debate even took place around the operating table.
“The nurse will bring up, the anesthesiologist will raise their concerns,” he said.
Dr Candela said he received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as soon as they were available, but his wife, a registered nurse, feared it could alter his DNA and had not yet been vaccinated. She also prevented their four children, who are vaccine-eligible and living at home, from getting the vaccine, he said. (The vaccine does not alter DNA.)
“It creates a lot of stress in the household,” he said. When his 18-year-old son told him he was going to get the vaccine, Dr Candela said he warned him, “Get ready to get yelled at by mom.
Mr. Montoya sits on the statewide executive committee of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, whose members are largely employed by private healthcare companies such as Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente.
He said he doubted many of his colleagues could afford to resign when the new rules took effect, but that he would not be surprised if many opted for the downside of masking and testing – then attempting to take legal action against their employers. Kaiser Permanente officials said they did not have departmental data, but across the hospital, nearly 80% of Downey employees were now vaccinated.
“Our intensive care unit was full of people on ventilators, 80% of them did not come out alive,” Montoya said. “It is heartbreaking to see how willing some people are to put not only their patients and themselves at risk.”
Kellen browning and Matt craig contributed reports.
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