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Left to right: Filipino American health care workers Karen Cantor, Karen Shoker, and John Paul Atienza were among many who cared for COVID patients in the early days of the pandemic. Rosem Morton hide caption

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Rosem Morton

At a meeting in Concord, New Hampshire, on Oct. 13, 2021, audience members voice opposition to federal vaccine mandates. Some employers, from state governments to hospitals to private companies, have already begun enforcing their own vaccine mandates, leading to the resignation or firing of a small percentage of workers. Holly Ramer/AP hide caption

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Holly Ramer/AP

Thousands of workers are opting to get fired, rather than take the vaccine

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Pastor Billy Joe Lewis was all in favor when a local health worker suggested a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the parking lot of his church in Smilax, Ky. "We've still got to use common sense," Lewis says. "Anything that can ward off suffering and death, I think, is a wonderful thing." Jessica Tezak for KHN hide caption

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Jessica Tezak for KHN

A doctor stands at a walk-up coronavirus testing site at West County Health Center in San Pablo, Calif., in April 2020. Pandemic burnout has affected thousands of health care workers. Jessica Christian/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images hide caption

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Jessica Christian/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

Michelle Chester, director of employee health services at Northwell Health, prepares the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital. Hospitals and nursing homes across the country are preparing for worsening staff shortages as state deadlines arrive for employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Eduardo Munoz/AP hide caption

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Eduardo Munoz/AP

Anti-vaccine mandate protesters rally outside the front doors of the Los Angeles Unified School District, LAUSD headquarters in Los Angeles Thursday Sept. 9, 2021. Damian Dovarganes/AP hide caption

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Damian Dovarganes/AP

Nurses Are In Short Supply. Employers Worry Vaccine Mandate Could Make It Worse

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In Idaho, a record number of people are hospitalized with COVID-19, raising the possibility of rationing medical care. Many states are grappling with the fallout of the delta variant's surge in cases. Kyle Green/AP hide caption

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Kyle Green/AP

A COVID Surge Is Overwhelming U.S. Hospitals, Raising Fears Of Rationed Care

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Workers and patients at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site near downtown Seattle in January. "The vast majority who are coming in do appear to be meeting the eligibility criteria," says Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County's public health officer. Grant Hindsley/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Grant Hindsley/AFP via Getty Images

Carlos Reyes, a certified nursing assistant in Massachusetts, says the nursing homes where he works told him he could not get vaccinated because he is a contract worker. He has since tested positive for the coronavirus. Meredith Nierman/GBH hide caption

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Meredith Nierman/GBH

Political divisions over the pandemic are creating a wedge and splitting off health care workers from small communities that desperately need them. Charlie Riedel/AP hide caption

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Charlie Riedel/AP

'Toxic Individualism': Pandemic Politics Driving Health Care Workers From Small Towns

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A health care worker prepares COVID-19 vaccine doses at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Wednesday in Portland, Ore. Hospitals across the U.S. began getting their first doses of Pfizer's vaccine this week. Nathan Howard/Getty Images hide caption

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Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Without Resources, Vaccine Rollout Could 'Fall At The Last Hurdle,' Journalist Warns

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Nurse Melissa Valentin applies the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a health worker at the Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday. The vaccine was granted emergency use authorization last week. Carlos Giusti/AP hide caption

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Carlos Giusti/AP

A nurse cares for a coronavirus patient in the intensive care unit at El Centro Regional Medical Center in California's hard-hit Imperial County on July 28. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

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Mario Tama/Getty Images

Quarantined Health Workers Compound Staffing Shortages At California Hospitals

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On average, each U.S. nursing home is connected to seven others through shared staff, a study by Yale and UCLA researchers suggests. Rigorous infection control measures can curb the spread of the coronavirus, but many workers say they still don't have sufficient masks and other personal protective equipment. SDI Productions/Getty Images hide caption

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SDI Productions/Getty Images

A health care worker prepares to screen people for the coronavirus at a testing site in Landover, Md., in March. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Health Care Workers Ask Therapist: 'Why Aren't More People Taking This Seriously?'

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Siblings Jasmine and Josh Obra both tested positive for the coronavirus on the same day. Only one of them survived. The Obra family hide caption

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The Obra family

Paramedics and hospital workers prepare to lift a COVID-19 patient onto a hospital stretcher outside the Montefiore Medical Center Moses Campus, the Bronx, Tuesday, April 07, 2020, New York City. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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Health care workers feel unprotected from the disease they're supposed to treat. pablohart/Getty Images hide caption

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pablohart/Getty Images

'It's Like Walking Into Chernobyl,' One Doctor Says Of Her Emergency Room

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