Care home staff could be forced to have the coronavirus vaccine to go to work. This law might be introduced this summer to increase safety amongst care home residents and staff. Currently, despite over 94% of those aged over 50 in the general population of England being partially vaccinated, only 78.9% of care home staff, who are a top priority group, have accepted a vaccine invitation. This has resulted in almost half of care homes not reaching the recommended vaccine threshold, putting 150,000 residents at risk of infection. With care home residents being the most high-risk group, it is vital that as many residents and staff as possible are vaccinated to prevent further outbreaks.
How have care homes and care home staff been affected by COVID infection already?
COVID has made its biggest impact on care homes with 40% of COVID deaths registered within the first wave occurring amongst care home residents. The first two months of the pandemic saw over 35,000 excess deaths compared to the 2015-2019 average, demonstrating how vulnerable this population is. As well as this, rates of death from COVID in the working population were highest amid care workers resulting in 347 deaths during the first two months.
Why may care workers not want to have the vaccine?
There are many reasons as to why care workers as well as members of the general population may refuse to have a vaccination. There are several cultural and religious reasons as well as lots of misinformation about its safety. For example, vaccine safety has been questioned recently with links between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, despite there being a stronger link between the COVID virus itself and blood clots. Organisations like the BBC have tried to alleviate concerns and others such as the British Islamic Association are doing a great job in giving coronavirus advice to low uptake communities.