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The Quiet Storm

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Concerns grow over number of carers turning down COVID vaccine

Written by on 22/01/2021

The National Care Association has raised concern about the number of carers taking up the COVID-19 vaccine.

One care homeowner in west London told Sky News half of his staff had refused the jab and called on the government to do more to combat misinformation.

Ian Somauroo owns the Meadows Care Home in Greenford. All but one of his 22 residents had the vaccine when it was offered last weekend but he’s struggling to persuade his staff to follow suit.

Ian Somauroo owns the Meadows Care Home in Greenford West London
Image: Ian Somauroo owns the Meadows Care Home in Greenford, west London

There are 24 people employed at the home in roles including caring, cleaning and in the kitchen.

He said: “They’re being quite selfish because they don’t understand that they are putting people’s lives at risk.

“They come in here on the understanding that they care for the elderly and they have a passion to look after them. And I would bring that into question.”

Mr Somauroo says he’s now making it mandatory to take the vaccine within terms of conditions for new employees.

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He said: “I only did this for newcomers who are coming in here. I can’t do it for the ones who are employed before coronavirus came on the scene.”

One of the residents at Meadows Care Home is 94-year-old Eirini Clark. She told us she feels angry with staff who are refusing the vaccine.

Resident at the Meadows Care Home EIRINI CLARK
Image: Care home resident Eirini Clark feels angry with staff who are refusing the vaccine

She said: “Not all the staff have been done yet and I thought they had, but I found out they haven’t and they are putting us all at risk. It isn’t a relaxed virus, it’s a deadly virus.”

The care home’s owner told of his frustration at the range of reasons given by staff for refusing the virus – none of which are substantiated in any way.

They include causing infertility, being part of a “medical experiment”, “scaremongering” by the government and denial the virus exists.

The concerns are shared by the National Care Association (NCA).

Nadra Ahmed, chair of the NCA, said: “I’m very concerned, because it’s a real form of tension and anxiety for the provider, to know that they will have people in their services who potentially are carrying the virus and could be asymptomatic.

Nadra Ahmed, Chair of the NCA
Image: Nadra Ahmed is chair of the NCA

“I think it’s a major hurdle for us to get over this. Because we know the vaccination is a key that will assist us to mitigate the risks.

“We are extremely concerned for the sector and for the whole workforce because we want them to understand that this is such an important thing to do.”

The Department of Health and Social Care says 63% of elderly care home residents have received the vaccine and they are “on track” for 100% by the end of the month

Meadows Care Home
Image: A resident at the Meadows Care Home in Greenford, west London

There’s currently no evidence as to whether having the vaccine will stop people transmitting the virus.

But in care homes, even two positive COVID cases of staff or residents will be classed as an outbreak.

That can trigger precautionary measures such as asking residents not to go to communal areas and to stay in their rooms at a time when visits from relatives are largely prohibited.

 Sky News

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