Concern over Blackpool care home staff who decline vaccine

Blackpool’s boss of adult social services says they are doing everything they can to persuade all care home staff in the town to be vaccinated against Covid.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 1:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 1:38 pm

Karen Smith, director of adult social care at Blackpool Council, said those who had so far declined the jab were mainly hesitant rather than outrightly refusing it.

But while the jab is not mandatory by law at the moment, some care homes are now insisting new staff have the vaccination as a condition of their employment.

Coun Maxine Callow told a meeting of the council’s adult social care and health scrutiny committee, some Blackpool residents were worried about relatives living in care homes where all staff had not been vaccinated.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Staff who are hesitant about the vaccine are being offered advice

She said: “I imagine residents’ families are extremely worried about this.

“I would be if I had a relative or family member in a care home where there were people who refused to have the jab.

“This is a threat to the residents’ health and it is a great worry to the residents and their families at a time when they shouldn’t be worrying about this.”

Ms Smith said people’s reasons for refusing the vaccination included religious reasons, concerns over the impact of the vaccine on fertility and concern over the speed at which it had been developed.

But she said all religious groups supported the vaccine programme, and one-to-one conversations were being held with individuals who had declined the jab including to point them towards scientific evidence.

Ms Smith added they were waiting to hear from the Department of Health whether the vaccine would become mandatory for care staff.

But in the meantime, she added: “This is a commercial environment and there is competition, and I expect in the future people will ask about the vaccination of staff.

“That’s a decision for providers to make. Some homes are making it contractual that staff are vaccinated.”

She said while this was possible for new staff, it was ‘more complex’ to change the contracts of existing staff.

Figures within an NHS report to the committee show in Fylde and Wyre care homes, the staff vaccination total was 1,324 (81.4 per cent) and the resident vaccination total was 1,178 (95.6 per cent) as at February 25.

But there was no data available at the time for Blackpool care homes.

* Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here