Should Covid-19 vaccinations for care home staff in the UK be compulsory?
The Government has now launched a consultation on the question and is keen to hear people’s views.
It is something that will have a huge impact on Southport, which boasts 85 care homes in our town, the biggest social care concentration in the UK. There are 3,612 care home staff working across Sefton.
Figures released last month showed that three quarters of care home staff in Sefton have received Covid-19 vaccinations.
A Government spokesperson said: “Older adults living in care homes have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because of their heightened risk to COVID-19 infection, often with devastating consequences, as well as the risk of outbreaks in these closed settings.
“Ensuring very high levels of vaccination of people living and working in these settings is an essential public health intervention.
“While vaccination uptake rates are increasing slowly week on week, there are still a high number of older adult care homes which do not have the level of protection needed to reduce the risk of outbreak.
“To increase vaccine take up, the government is considering amending the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.
“This would mean older adult care home providers could only use those staff who have received the COVID-19 vaccination (or those with a legitimate medical exemption) in line with government guidance.”
The deadline for responding to the consultation is Friday 21 May 2021.
The easiest way to participate is by completing the public survey here.
One care home manager is against the idea.
Jonathan Cunningham MBE firmly supports the idea of workers in the industry getting vaccinated, but believes that forcing people into doing so would “shatter their goodwill”.
Mr Cunningham is chair of the North and South Sefton care Home Group representing 132 care homes. He is also the Registered Care Manager over Birkdale Park Care Home and Rosebank Care Home in Southport and Chair and Founder of The UK Care Home Managers Inner Circle (3,500 members).
He believes that giving information and talking with members of staff about the benefits of vaccinations against Coronavirus is far more productive.
He said: “The recent announcement that it may become mandatory for care workers to be vaccinated is not something that I support.
“Whilst the spirit and intent are fully understood to safeguard societies most vulnerable, the thought of a mandated vaccination programme will only serve to shatter the fragile goodwill of care workers and NHS staff across the UK.
“Many will see this as the last straw after an horrific year. This would only serve to play into the hands of the conspirators, anti-vaxers and all those who still shun the devastation of this terrible virus.
“I think this idea is far too draconian. Instead we need to engage in conversations to those staff who remain anxious.
“Equally there are very real circumstances that the taking of the vaccine is not advised on rare health grounds.
“Mandatory vaccination is not the approach the government should be considering. This is a time for recognising our care staff.”
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