The government has begun rolling out vaccinations, with the elderly and care homes being at the forefront. However, a minority of care home staff across the country are defending their decisions not to take the Coronavirus vaccine, despite being amongst priority groups to receive it first.

Data from NHS England recorded that 3 in 10 care home staff and senior care workers have not yet been vaccinated, in spite of being in the top 4 priority groups.

Amidst the deadly pandemic, some care staff are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, until more research has been conducted.

Some care providers are requesting to make the vaccine a requirement for all of their staff.

Arguments surrounding the risk of making the vaccine mandatory have been brought up, with some arguing that this is a breach of their human rights.

Esther Baffour, a senior care worker, spoke about her concerns surrounding the vaccination process.

“In my job I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking me if I want to get the vaccine.

“The emails we get are talking about the myths surrounding vaccinations, to try and push the carers to take it,” she said.

But the senior care worker from London still has her own doubts about whether to be inoculated.

Miss Baffour said she is worried about the speed in which the Pfizer vaccination, for example, has been made.

Some staff have turned down the vaccine due to cultural reasons or health concerns.

She claims that ‘cures’ are usually tested for years before they are distributed, and that not enough research about possible side effects have been conducted for her liking.

She stated: “I’m not saying I won’t take the vaccine at all. What I’m saying is, I’m going to give it at least two years to see how people react to it.”

Speaking about the decision taken by some care homes to no longer hire staff who are yet to take the vaccine, Miss Baffour said: “It’s understandable that, because of this, care home workers are agreeing to take the vaccine despite their personal doubts.

“They don’t want to lose their jobs as they may have family to provide for or rent to pay.

“For me, I’m a student. I live at home. I don’t need the money as much as someone who works full time.”

Esther, who has been a care worker since July, did however agree with administering the vaccine to the elderly first.

“A lot of the customers I work with are over 75 and have had the vaccine.

“I think that this is good. The older generation are most vulnerable to COVID, so their safety is vital.”

Speaking on her future as a senior care worker, Esther said: “As a carer who chooses not to take the vaccine, I will be seen as high risk by any future care home employer.

“I think that I may stop receiving jobs if COVID within care homes worsens, as some customers may not feel comfortable having a carer who has no form of immunity”.

Graph showing a rise in care home deaths in England and Wales from Jan 2021. Photograph: Care Home Professional

She added: “However, I always take precautions to protect my customers. I’m also protecting myself and my family as well.”

The government have made it clear that they have no intentions of making the COVID-19 vaccination a requirement, however with care homes taking matters into their own hands, how much longer can staff refuse to be immunised?

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