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The new COVID-19 vaccine rollout started just before Christmas for healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. But many who are first in line are declining to receive the vaccine.

According to an article posted by Forbes, “a startlingly high percentage of health care professionals and frontline workers throughout the country” are reportedly hesitant or outright refusing to take the COVID vaccine.

Here in Gallatin County, Gallatin Rest Home held a vaccination clinic on December 29th for its residents and staff who wished to receive the COVID vaccination. A press release from the City of Bozeman stated that 24 residents and 33 staff members received the first round of shots. That represented about 70% of the Gallatin Rest Home residents and approximately 50% of the staff.

In a Los Angeles Times article last week, the paper quoted a nurse saying, “I’m choosing the risk — the risk of having COVID, or the risk of the unknown of the vaccine. I think I’m choosing the risk of COVID. I can control that and prevent it a little by wearing masks, although not 100% for sure.” This nurse was pregnant and also said she was concerned about the vaccine’s safety for pregnant women.

In a survey of New York City firefighters, NBC New York reported that over half who responded said they would not take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, which describes itself on its website as an endowed nonprofit organization filling the need for trusted, independent information on national health issues, states that about 27% of the public remains hesitant about the vaccine.

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