ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Hospitals in Minnesota say the COVID-19 vaccine is working and they’re seeing it firsthand through a decrease in sick calls from staff.
It wasn’t too long ago in this pandemic that Minnesota hospitals were facing major staffing shortages. Frontline workers were fatigued and over worked, as an alarming number of their colleagues either had the virus themselves or had to quarantine due to exposure.
At least one major hospital system, however, says those days are over.
"Our numbers are lower, our staffing is better, we’re able to open up the hospital to some of the more usual type of care," said Dr. Greg Siwek, an infectious disease doctor at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Dr. Siwek credits this to the fact that the majority of their staff is now vaccinated.
"We’re not seeing healthcare workers getting infected," he said. "That has dropped off quite dramatically since we’ve been able to get our healthcare workers two vaccines."
This could be an encouraging sign if the general population gets the vaccine at similarly high rates. In the Health Partners system, 98 percent of clinicians are opting in.
"I think physicians really should be leaders and they really are stepping up and leading, saying, 'Yes, I want to get the vaccine,'" said Siwek.
The Minnesota Department of Health told FOX 9 Wednesday it does not track vaccinations by occupation, so the statewide vaccination rate among healthcare workers was not available.