In the survey, 54 percent of the 687 respondents said they would be “not at all comfortable” seeing an unvaccinated doctor, while 9 percent said they would be “somewhat comfortable,” and more than a third (37 percent) said they would be “very comfortable.”
Based on responses received during data collection on July 8-9, 2021, women and men largely agreed on their level of comfort: 58 percent of women and 57 percent of men said not at all, 7 percent of women and 10 percent of men said somewhat, and 35 percent of women and 33 percent of men said vaccination status did not matter to them.
However, as with so much in America these days, there are some significant differences hidden in those findings.
Age differences, for example, played a significant role in the findings, with 64 percent of those 45 and older saying they were not at all comfortable, compared to 46 percent of those under 45.
Respondents in the West were the most likely (46 percent ) to express their comfort with nonvaccinated doctors, while those in the Northeast were the least likely (26 percent ), with the Midwest (35 percent ) and the South (38 percent ) falling in the middle.
Infection Scenarios: Should Providers Be Punished?
The survey also asked if health care providers should be punished if they expose others to COVID-19 while at work in various scenarios.
The scenario that received the most votes was one in which a clinician had COVID-19 but continued to work without using personal protective equipment (PPE). Eighty-two percent of those polled agreed that it was deserving of punishment. The only other scenario in which more than half of respondents supported punishment was one in which a clinician knew they were infected but continued to work while wearing PPE (53 percent ).
Similar questions were posed to doctors, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care providers. The survey, which lasted from July 7 to July 18, polled 2,498 professionals.
This group reached a similar conclusion: more than 90% agreed that the clinician who knew they were infected but continued to work without PPE should be punished.
Following that, the opinions in that survey differed slightly, both from the patient poll and between the clinician groups.
None of the other scenarios received 50% support for punishment among doctors, but 51% of nurses and 55% of other providers wanted to punish a clinician with COVID who infected a vulnerable patient.