New Brief Examines COVID-19 Risks and Impacts for Health Care Workers by Race and Ethnicity

New coronavirus cases in the United States have hit daily records multiple times in the past week and hospitalizations are rising in several areas of the country. Health care workers face some of the greatest risk of exposure to the coronavirus and a new KFF brief examines the composition of the workforce and how the risks and the impact of the pandemic on this workforce vary across racial/ethnic groups. With prospects for a successful vaccine in the coming months, the brief also examines the overall impact the pandemic is having on health care workers as well as their attitudes towards taking a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • While 60% of health workers are White, people of color accounted for the majority of COVID-19 cases and deaths among health workers based on available data.
  • Studies suggest that, among health care workers, people of color are more likely to be in roles and settings that pose particularly high risk of exposure to coronavirus, including providing direct patient care or support in inpatient hospital or residential or long-term care settings and reporting inadequate access to PPE.
  • While over half (54%) of health care workers say they would definitely get a free, safe and effective vaccine, Black adults with a health worker in their household are much less likely than comparable White adults to say they would definitely get vaccinated (24% vs. 46%).

For more insights into the country’s health care worker population and their experiences with and attitudes about the coronavirus pandemic read the brief, COVID-19 Risks and Impacts Among Health Care Workers by Race/Ethnicity.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.