Nursing home workers who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine are setting the record straight on why some may be reluctant to get inoculated. Many say their reasons are being misinterpreted by the public. 

“We should stop saying that people are just saying no,” Kimberly Manning, M.D., an Emory University School of Medicine professor, told Kaiser Health News. 

“It’s important to not lump anybody into a group and say, ‘How dare you just not get vaccinated,’ [just] because you’re a healthcare worker,” she added. “You’re still a person.”

Recent data showed that just 37.5% of nursing home staff received at least one dose during the first month of the federal COVID-19 vaccine program. Residents, meanwhile, averaged more than double that.

Reluctance by nursing home workers stems from a variety of reasons, including potential side effects with other medications and how politics may have rushed the approval process, the KHN report detailed.

Tremellia Hobbs, an activities director at a North Carolina nursing home, for example, said she would simply like to give the vaccine “a little more time” to prove its effectiveness. Her colleague, certified nursing assistant Caitlyn Huneycutt, explained that she opted out of receiving a shot because she had started a new medication. 

“I want to make sure I’m going to be healthy if I take it,” Honeycutt said. 

Manning suggested that providers should refer to reluctant workers as “slow yeses” and  respond better to their concerns. 

“We just are too impatient to get to the point where we let them get to their yes,” she said. “We’re like the used-car salesmen. We’re just trying to close the deal.”