Just one care home worker employed by Portsmouth council is refusing Covid jab

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ONE care home worker employed by Portsmouth City Council could face losing their job as the only staff member out of almost 300 still refusing to get vaccinated against coronavirus.

Under government rules as of November 11 all care home workers, and anyone entering a care home, needs to be fully vaccinated – unless they have a medical exemption.

In a report ahead of a city council cabinet meeting next week officers detail how any staff still not vaccinated by that time could ‘be dismissed as a last resort’ if they can’t be redeployed.

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Picture: Sarah Standing (010221-2020)Picture: Sarah Standing (010221-2020)
Picture: Sarah Standing (010221-2020)

Currently one care home worker out of 287 has not been vaccinated, as well as three visiting professionals to care homes – although they will be redeployed.

Councillor Jason Fazackarley, the council’s health, wellbeing and social care boss, said: ‘We have worked closely with our care home staff to encourage take-up of the vaccine, through individual meetings, education, support and appointments with occupational health to discuss concerns.

‘We are clear that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect the people they care for and themselves, and are pleased that such a high percentage have chosen to do so.’

At the announcement of the regulations in June, there were 17 council staff working in care homes who were declining vaccination

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But a union representing social care workers said mandatory vaccinations were ‘counterproductive.’

Regional organiser for Unison South East, James Smith, added: ‘We have repeatedly told the UK government that persuasion and not coercion is the best way to roll out the vaccination programme. We believe that it is the government’s central responsibility to boost trust and confidence in the vaccine and not just leave this to employers.

‘Regulations were passed by parliament in late July 2021 making it a requirement for workers to have completed their vaccination course before entering care homes. The regulations explicitly accept there are individuals for whom vaccination is inappropriate for clinical reasons, but they do not yet fully specify what this means.

‘Unfortunately the government decision does mean that staff are vulnerable to being redeployed to other duties or even dismissed if they refuse to have the vaccination. It is an issue nationwide, not just affecting Portsmouth City Council and in many cases will add to the existing staff shortages and pressures within the care sector.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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