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For frustrated COVID nurses, vaccine refusers may be the last straw | READER COMMENTARY

Kiauna Graham, a registered nurse for 10-years, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to therapist Long Qi, of Ellicott City, during a clinic at the Howard County Health Department Wednesday afternoon.
Kiauna Graham, a registered nurse for 10-years, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to therapist Long Qi, of Ellicott City, during a clinic at the Howard County Health Department Wednesday afternoon. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

There is a nationwide shortage of health care workers, most notably nurses who work in critical care. They are the first-line bedside providers who deliver the emotionally exhausting care required for COVID-19 patients. They are often expected to remain on the job long after their shift ends. They do realize their responsibility and have performed with amazing courage (”Maryland hospital beds for kids are filling up with COVID and other virus cases. When school starts, doctors say it could get worse,” Aug. 18).

They often were the last professional hospital workers to receive vaccination following doctors, administrators, board members, large donors and the families of this group. Furthermore, they do not receive financial reward for their grueling and risk-laden days. They are leaving COVID care to use their skills in a safer environment. Why, with COVID infection rising, would they seek a change?

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Some people still feel entitled to refuse vaccination despite the risk they take to themselves and the rest of the population. They are a public health menace. How do they think COVID care providers like nurses feel about the risk and stress when having to care for these irresponsible individuals? They worked the first COVID wave and now are expected to perform again.

Dr. Barry Blum, Pikesville

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