Care homes: staff ‘should want to get vaccinated’ but making it mandatory not ‘the right way to go’

Covid vaccinations for staff in care homes will be made mandatory from 11 November

Care workers "should want to get vaccinated" against Covid-19 to safeguard the patients they are treating but mandatory vaccines are not the way forward, a care home service has said.

Vaccinations for staff in care homes in England will be made mandatory from 11 November, with those unvaccinated unable to continue their work.

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Care home staff who refuse to be fully vaccinated against Covid - and who are not exempt - will not be able to enter the care home from 11 November.

However, the vaccination deadline has sparked concerns over the impact it could have on added work pressure and the way in which the rule is being implemented.

Camille Leavold, founder of care home service Abbots Care, said that although staff should want to receive the Covid vaccine in order to protect others, making it a mandatory requirement is not the best way forward.

Ms Leavold told NationalWorld: “I think it’s really difficult because I do believe that the workforce should want to be vaccinated because I do think it’s our duty of care when we’re supporting such vulnerable people.

“However, I think that there is another way of doing it and I don’t think we need to make it mandatory at Abbots Care.”

Mandatory vaccination could ‘restrict recruitment’

In order to support staff with making a decision about receiving the Covid jab, Ms Leavold said Abbot Care met every single care worker that had any reservations, listened to their concerns, supported them with information, invited them to webinars with their public health director and gave them relevant statistics.

She said the service gathered all the information the staff required and gave them the time to make the decision to have the vaccination.

Through doing this and providing information and support, the service got 96% of their work force vaccinated, Ms Leavold said.

“I do think we should have the work force vaccinated, but I don’t think making it mandatory is necessarily the right way to go for home care,” she added.

However, although Abbots Care would plan to go through the same process of providing information and support regarding the vaccine to new staff, the care service is worried about recruitment after the mandatory vaccine deadline comes into place.

Ms Leavold said that Abbots Care is now working to attract people from other sectors into their care home sector, but they won’t be able to apply unless they can prove they have received a Covid jab, something which she said is going to “restrict our recruitment”.

For those who are not currently vaccinated, Ms Leavold said she believes care workers may leave their service “for other sectors or the NHS where they don’t have to be vaccinated”.