Credit: Christian Emmer

Thousands of Welsh care home staff still haven’t had Covid vaccine

Workers could be avoiding jab because of conspiracy theories, says one manager

MORE THAN 5,000 care home workers in Wales have not been vaccinated against Covid, despite being in the first priority group.

Wales began rolling out the Covid vaccine on December 8, 2020, but 5,546 care home workers have still not yet had their first dose.

This group of unvaccinated workers makes up 15% of the total number of care home staff in Wales.

A care home manager in Cardiff, who asked not to be named, said that all their staff had had the vaccine.

However, they were aware of workers in other homes refusing the vaccine because they were worried about it having an adverse effect on their health.

Credit: Direct Media

“Some of my colleagues in other care homes, they’ve got some staff who are reluctant because of conspiracy theories. Other staff who have got their own health concerns are a bit reluctant.

“I’m aware there have been a lot of stories spread around regarding people who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. And I believe those things have been debunked in terms of infertility but some staff are reluctant because of that.”

The manager said it was “really important” for care home workers to be vaccinated, and that it was likely that more care home workers would have the vaccine eventually.

“If the people who have had the vaccinations do stay well, stay fit and don’t have any adverse effects then that will encourage some other people to do it.

“I’ve seen it mentioned that in some countries, if someone’s going on holiday to a different country they’re going to have to be vaccinated.

“If that does come into play and you won’t be able to go abroad if you haven’t had a vaccination that’ll persuade some people to do it. I imagine in the course of time that number will come down,” they said.

In response to vaccination worries, Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility.”

“Claims of any effect of Covid-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data. There is​ ​no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women’s fertility. 

“Evidence has not been presented that women who have been vaccinated have gone on to have fertility problems.”

According to the Welsh Government, there are several reasons why some care workers have not yet been vaccinated.

It could be because they have had Covid within the last 28 days, or have had their flu vaccination within the last seven days.

It could also be because they are on sick or maternity or leave, have recently returned from leave or because they are new starters.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The overwhelming majority of care home workers have had the vaccine. Whilst we have no plans to change the law to make vaccinations compulsory, we would urge every eligible adult to take-up the offer of the vaccine when it is their turn. 

“If anyone in the top priority groups has missed an appointment for whatever reason or they have changed their mind about having the vaccine, a new appointment can be made for them.”