Selston care home boss says Covid jabs 'should not be mandatory' for staff

A Selston nursing home manager says the Covid-19 vaccination ‘should not be mandatory’ for all care home staff.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 9:58 am

The Government has launched a five-week consultation on mandatory jabs amid concerns about whether enough carers have been vaccinated to stop the virus spreading to residents.

But the move has provoked criticism from some unions who say mandatory vaccinations could ‘backfire’ and lead to a staffing shortage.

And Anita Astle who runs Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston, says she believes a person ‘should have the right to choose’ whether to get vaccinated.

Anita Astle, manager of Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston.

"I fully support and believe in the vaccine and vaccination programme. I’ve had both vaccines and I work for the NHS as part of the mass vaccination team,” she said.

“The consultation is about mandating care staff to have the vaccine.

"Although I wholeheartedly support staff vaccination, I don’t support them being forced to be vaccinated. A person should have the right to choose.

"It’s disappointing the Government seems to have singled out care workers. If they are mandated to have the vaccine it should include GPs, NHS, Social Care staff, residents and family visitors attending care homes. Otherwise, it would be totally ineffective.”

Anita, whose Nottingham Road home lost nine residents to the virus last year, says 94 per cent of her workforce has been vaccinated – which she says is down to ‘strong leadership and effective information sharing’ that encouraged staff to have the jab.

"Care staff have a duty of care to prevent exposure to the Covid-19 for those in care homes, it’s done by wearing PPE, hand-washing, changing PPE appropriately, zoning and cohorting, safely disposing clinical waste and vaccination,” she said.

"The vaccination reduces susceptibility to the virus, increasing immunity and reduces the severity of infection experienced. Alone, vaccination will not stop the spread of Covid-19.

“The past year was horrendous for most care homes. Staff worked above and beyond, leaving their own families to work, in some cases in care homes with Covid-19 outbreaks.

“My vision, as a responsible care provider, is to mitigate all risks to residents and staff. Care home staff have worked exceptionally hard since the outset of the pandemic, despite the barriers and challenges of PPE shortages, lack of testing capacity and limited vaccination capability until end January, 2021 alongside their own personal anxieties."