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Some healthcare workers in Cook County declining to get COVID-19 vaccine

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact nearly every aspect of society, dozens of Cook County residents – including numerous healthcare workers – are opting not to get the vaccine even though they are eligible.

According to a report from the Jan. 21 meeting of the local hospital board, 22 staff from North Shore Health have declined the vaccine, one resident of the care center, six staff from Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and seven essential caregivers are ‘refusing’ the vaccine.

The reasons for the refusals vary, though the primary reasons are rooted in religious beliefs, politics, fear or skepticism about the vaccine, according to Kimber Wraalstad, the administrator at North Shore Health.

Meanwhile, nearly 80 percent of all staff at the local healthcare facility have been vaccinated as of Jan. 22, Wraalstad pointed out during an interview with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs that aired live on the Daybreak program. Furthermore, she pointed out, all but one resident in the care center has been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Wraalstad said the vaccine is offered to someone else who is also eligible if and when someone who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine refuses to get it.

“We are not wasting any vaccine,” Wraalstad said.

According to the Cook County COVID-19 comprehensive website, a total of 473 vaccines for COVID-19 have been administered in Cook County as of Jan. 21. There remain no reported deaths locally from the virus.

As Minnesota continues to make progress in the ongoing fight against the virus, the spread of COVID-19 has slowed to a near halt in Cook County at this time. There’s been one additional cases of COVID-19 reported in Cook County during the past week. The case count stands at 115, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Listen to the audio below to hear the full interview with Wraalstad from Jan. 21. Also discussed in the interview is an update on visitation to the local healthcare facility.