New care home recruits should have vaccine

There are growing calls for care home workers across the Welsh border to have a Covid-19 jab as a condition of their employment.

Mario Kreft
Mario Kreft

The plea from Care Forum Wales, which represents nearly 500 independent social care providers, was given added momentum after the Department of Health and Social Care announced a five-week consultation on the idea in England.

It will effectively make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for staff working in Powys care homes with older residents across the border.

Like the UK Government, Care Forum Wales believes that making vaccines a condition of employment would protect vulnerable residents from the virus.

Experts say 80 per cent of staff and 90 per cent of residents in care homes need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection.

According to Care Forum Wales chair Mario Kreft MBE, care homes were duty bound to do everything in their power to protect their residents and staff.

Evidence, he said, had shown that even a single dose of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines cuts transmission by two thirds.

Mr Kreft added: “It is good news that the consultation is occurring in England because hopefully this can pave the way for a similar approach here in Wales.

“The roll out of the vaccine has been a huge success but it would be a big mistake to think we are out of the woods just yet.

“Experts keeping telling us that a third wave of this terrible virus is now inevitable – it’s a case of when not if.

“In terms of staff being inoculated, some homes are doing incredibly well, we’ve heard stories of 100 per cent take up but others are struggling.

“It only takes one person to bring one of the new strains of the virus into vulnerable people.

“I think everybody who works in social care should, unless there's a very good reason otherwise, get the jab and importantly be ready for a culture where we might have to have this each year for some years to come.

“At a time like this, we really need to be thinking of other people, not just ourselves – rather than potentially putting residents, colleagues and possibly members of our own families at risk. We should use every lever at our disposal to ensure this does not happen.

“We believe we now need to be proactive again so that we can continue to protect our residents and staff from this deadly virus.

“It is clearly sensible that care homes should be allowed to refuse to recruit anybody who has not been vaccinated.

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