Dawlish: More than 500 care home staff still unvaccinated in Devon, new report states

  Posted: 16.09.21 at 13:31 by Ollie Heptinstall, Local Democracy Reporter

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Around 500 care home staff in Devon have not yet had a Covid jab, a new report estimates.

The number is around five per cent of total care home staff in the county who will need to be fully vaccinated by Thursday 11 November if they want to continue working in care homes, unless they are exempt.

A report to Devon County Council’s health and adult care scrutiny committee showed, as of Friday 3 September, 577 of just under 10,000 staff haven’t been jabbed, according to a ‘capacity tracker’ based on care provider data.

It isn’t known how many people are exempt, but the report adds that “work continues to address vaccination hesitancy” and the plan for when mandatory vaccination becomes law in November.

Tim Golby, north and east locality director for Devon County Council and NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “That number continues to come down, but certainly isn’t nil, so the sort of things we’re doing are following up and making sure care homes are pursuing this with their staff group. Where we have providers with lower rates – around 80 per cent – we’re having conversations with them.”

Care home staff have until Thursday 16 September to get their first dose to allow them sufficient time to receive the second and gain full protection in time for the 11 November deadline.

“We don’t believe we have any providers in Devon that will end up or no staff as a consequence or be unable to operate,” Mr Golby added. He believes “the impact here in Devon will be manageable”.

“There will be some examples of staff who currently work in the sector leaving, but they will be a handful and will be able to be absorbed, although already fewer staff is a bit of a problem.”

Mr Golby said a lot of support was going into care homes to try and encourage vaccine uptake but “ultimately this becomes a personal choice.” However, he warned of potential implications for staffing rotas from November.

Richard Scott (Conservative, Exmouth) said: “Why would you not want to be vaccinated when you’re dealing with vulnerable people? Why would you want to be the one that’s putting them at risk?”

Asked by Cllr Scott whether mandatory vaccination was being extended to the NHS, Tim Golby said the government is consultating on whether jabs should be compulsory for frontline health and social care staff.

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