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Health

Helena's St. Peter’s Health Expects Most Employees To Get Vaccinated

A chart shows responses to a surveys taken in September and December that show a growing proportion of respondents say they would "definitely" or "probably" get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were free and deemed safe by scientists.
Kaiser Family Foundation
A Kaiser Family Foundation chart shows an increase in Americans willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine from September to December.

Ten large Montana hospitals this week are beginning to vaccinate frontline health care workers against COVID-19. The shot won’t be mandatory at one Helena hospital, which still expects most of its employees to get vaccinated.

Spokesperson Katie Gallagher said Tuesday roughly 70 percent of the 1,200 St. Peter’s Health employees who responded to a recent survey want or are interested in getting vaccinated. She said staff members wanted more information about the science behind the vaccine and known risks and benefits.

“Our staff had the same exact questions the the community has around efficacy, around how long the vaccine’s going to last,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said St. Peter’s will begin vaccinating employees Wednesday. Clinical Pharmacy Manager Tom Richardson said he expects higher uptake numbers as Montanans see their colleagues get inoculated with minimal side effects.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey published Tuesday found that 71 percent of Americans would probably or definitely get the COVID-19 vaccine, an eight percent jump from September. It also found a slightly higher than average hesitancy to get vaccinated among health care workers. Twenty-nine percent said they probably or definitely wouldn’t get the vaccine.

Experts estimate around 70 percent of the population needs to get vaccinated for herd immunity, the point at which the virus can be held in check.