Should Covid-19 Vaccinations for Care Home Staff Become Compulsory?

Should Covid-19 vaccinations for care home staff become compulsory? It’s a question that has caused much discussion in recent months. 

With the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) recently suggesting that making Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for staff could be ‘reasonable’, this has given further fuel to the debate.

In its response to the consultation on mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for care home staff, the EHRC stated: “the government is right to prioritise protection of the right to life for residents and staff.”

The response went on to say: “In our view it is therefore reasonable to require care home staff to be vaccinated in order to work directly with older and disabled people.”

Healthcare Management Solutions CEO Tony Stein recently joined a discussion on national radio station LBC about the issue. Mr Stein said: “You’ve got to understand that some people are genuinely worried about this, and taking the step of forcing people to do it demonstrates you’re a certain kind of employer and I think that worries them as well. So you’ve got to try and point them to making their own decisions.”

Educate Rather Than Mandate

To encourage Covid-19 vaccination uptake, Healthcare Management Solutions has adopted a strategy of educating rather than mandating. The company has been signposting existing staff at all care settings under its management to credible sources of information on vaccine safety. Alongside the support and encouragement of care home managers, this has helped increase vaccine uptake among care home staff by 6% in two months.

Mr Stein said: “82% of our workforce have volunteered to be vaccinated so we’ve had a really strong success rate adopting this policy.

“As we go through the vaccination programme, people can see those around them who have been vaccinated. They might have had mild symptoms, but they’re better now. So I think they’re getting more confident with it.”

Is Herd Immunity A Valid Reason to Turn Down a Covid-19 Vaccination?

During the LBC interview, Mr Stein was quizzed on individuals who cite herd immunity as a reason for turning down a vaccination.

In response to the question, Mr Stein answered: “It’s completely wrong. The reality is that no vaccine is 100% safe. So you don’t get 100% protection.

“It will improve your levels of protection and we also now have increasing evidence to show that people who are vaccinated are less likely to be contagious in the sense that the viral load they carry is going to be lower. So whilst we recognise that there will be less risk to have 80% of people in the care service vaccinated and all of our residents vaccinated, it’s not a nill risk.”

When pushed on the percentage of vaccinated staff at which the company would stop encouraging vaccine uptake, Mr Stein replied: “We’ve taken a view that we will continue to provide signposting, continue to provide encouragement and advice and we’ll endeavour to get to 100% of all those who have no medical reason for not having the vaccine.”

You can listen to the full LBC interview in the video below.

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