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UT Health San Antonio seeks EMS input on COVID-19 vaccination

Researchers are gathering data to understand the factors that influence EMS providers’ decision to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

By Kerri Hatt

SAN ANTONIO — The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is surveying EMS providers about factors affecting their decision to either obtain or abstain from a COVID-19 vaccination.

“The goal is to understand factors that influence EMS providers’ decision whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This data has not yet been reported and we need this data to help make EMS providers’ environment safer during the pandemic,” said Sarah Frances McClure, DO, specialist in emergency medicine at the health science center.

“Prehospital providers are walking into scenarios where they really have no idea if a person has COVID-19 or has been recently exposed,” McClure said. “The providers wear personal protective equipment (PPE), but even so, having the vaccine has proven to be an extra layer of protection against severe disease. However, the vaccine does not yet have full FDA approval so we have to understand that everyone has different levels of comfort with the vaccines that are available and receiving the vaccine is mostly an individual’s choice at present.”

“Understanding what factors most significantly influence this important decision will allow EMS medical directors to address those issues that affect both cohorts of individuals and will allow us to keep our providers and their families safe during the pandemic,” McClure noted.

The researchers are looking to survey at least a representative sample of all providers. The survey is not a judgment zone, Dr. McClure said. “Whether someone does or doesn’t want to get the vaccine, we respect the choice of the individual. We are seeking to understand systemic factors that may influence the individual’s decision. That way we can open a conversation nationwide about perceived risk versus actual risk and how to mitigate that risk.” The survey will be confidential.

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