Jan 11, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination: What Do Industry Professionals Think?

Water and wastewater workers share thoughts and feelings about the COVID-19 vaccine

In late 2020, health professionals announced the successful completion of a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has kept the globe in a pandemic since March 2020. The presidential administration established a tiering release of the vaccine to the U.S., starting with medical workers. Other essential workers are listed in the triage, including water and wastewater professionals, who have continued their work ensuring water is clean and safe for their communities.

There have, however, been objections to the vaccine throughout the country, so Water & Wastes Digest asked its newsletter audience about the issue. The first question of the survey asked “Will you or will you not get the COVID-19 vaccination?” A second question asked for elaboration. All responses are anonymous, and the survey is still open.

Take the survey here

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Attitudes to the COVID-19 Vaccination

Only 23 individuals had responded to the survey by Jan. 11. Of those responses, 15 said they would be getting the vaccine, 5 said they would not get it, and 3 said they were undecided.

For those who indicated they would get the vaccine, below are some verbatim responses as to why they feel the need to get it. (Editor’s note: These have been copied and pasted directly from the survey responses. Grammatical errors are those of the respondents.)

  • The best chance for us to move past this virus
  • I have actually already received my first dose. I am taking the vaccine because I think it's vitally important for our country to get back to some semblance of normal. I do have some concerns about the long term effects but they are small.
  • Because I believe in Science.
  • My personal safety and that of my family, co-workers and friends
  • I'm 66 years old
  • Life is meant to be enjoyed! 
  • To help create herd immunity and self preservation
  • In order to see friends and family and also to be able to travel.
  • It's in my best interest to protect myself and others from this virus. If I can be part of the solution to improve the health of the population, then I will. Saving people helps save business.
  • I have many older family members who I would not risk seeing without getting a vaccine first.
  • Taking a safe, effective, proven vaccine to get the country one step closer to normalcy and restoring the economy is a civic duty. At the time of this survey, millions of doses of (2) different approved versions have been administered world-wide with no widespread severe reactions noted. It is quite clearly the best step forward. Keeping the front line utilities workers safe and in the field should be a priority. These vaccines allow that to happen.
  • My wife is immune compromised and I live in constant fear that I will bring Covid home and kill her!
  • Protection of family members who may not survive COVID 19 if contracted.  Trust in the science behind vaccination. 
  • I also get the flu shot every year because I do not want to get the flu.  To me, the COVID-19 vaccine is similar.

Those who indicated they would not get the vaccine indicated the following reasons as to why. Again, these are verbatim responses.

  • Not enough research done to convince me it is safe
  • I'm not very trusting of the rushed circumstances.
  • I do not do any flu or flu like vaccines.
  • I tested positive on November 10th and have recovered. No need to get vaccinated

A couple indicated they were still undecided. The below verbatim responses are what they had to say about the matter.

  • Still undecided; seems like there are as many questions as answers so it is difficult to determine the best approach; leaning toward getting it
  • Wasn't tested very long.  won't do the one that needs to be frozen.
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Response on Social Media

In addition to the WWD survey above, the Facebook group Water/Wastewater Operators of the World, Unite! posted a poll as well. The group has 14,000 water and wastewater professionals, the poll had three options: “I will not be vaccinated”, “I will be getting my vaccine”, and “I already received my vaccine”.

Of the responses to this poll, 315 indicated they would not get the vaccine, 244 said they would be receiving it and 24 for indicated they had already received the vaccine.

The post has 122 comments, many of which indicate a distrust of the vaccination, notably the speed with which it was made, tested and produced. Others note they worry about long-term side effects that could not be tested in the timeframe the vaccination has been created.

Meanwhile others mention the science behind testing the vaccine is strong and belays their concerns for negative side effects, and despite hesitance for long-term issues, they say the risk of those problems is low for the upside of seeing family and friends with peace of mind.

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Seeking Further Response

WWD will continue to keep its survey open for those interested in sharing their opinion. Follow the link to the survey here to indicate if you will or will not be getting the vaccine. Or indicate you are undecided. A box is also available to share more details as to why you have taken that stance. Should we get an additional 100 responses, WWD will follow up with more information in a future news article.

About the author

Bob Crossen is senior managing editor of Water & Wastes Digest. Crossen can be reached at [email protected].

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