Local sector has fears over compulsory vaccine for care home staff

COMPULSORY vaccination of care home staff against Covid-19 will cause problems in the sector locally, according to a leading figure in the industry.

Cathy Bailey, the chairwoman of the Guernsey Care Management Association. (29675928)
Cathy Bailey, the chairwoman of the Guernsey Care Management Association. (29675928)

The UK is expected to go down that route after an extensive consultation.

There has been no indication that Guernsey will do the same.

Requiring staff to be vaccinated raises questions of legality, morality and human rights, but it is precedented by obligatory hepatitis jabs for doctors.

Staff who refuse to be vaccinated in England within 16 weeks face redeployment from frontline care or job losses.

‘In Guernsey we have been fortunate that the uptake of vaccinations has been far higher than in the UK, but compulsion to take the vaccine will still cause problems in our sector,’ said Cathy Bailey, Guernsey Care Homes director of nursing and Guernsey Care Managers Association chairwoman.

Reasons given for the move were to protect the individual and those surrounding them, in a bid to save lives.

‘We understand the case for the proposed plans to make Covid vaccinations compulsory for workers in care homes to help protect the most vulnerable in our society. However, if this was introduced that it should equally be applied to all healthcare workers across the board in all health care settings.’

Staffing levels may suffer further as a result of the mandate.

‘Although the theory is laudable, we have reservations over the practicality and the ramifications of coercion over persuasion,’ Mrs Bailey said.

‘Recruitment is always a challenge and will become more critical now as there will inevitably be job losses that will be very hard to replace.’

Should it remain undecided whether Guernsey will follow the UK decision, the next GCMA meeting is on 6 July at which the matter will be discussed in full.

The States was approached for comment as to whether the same ruling will apply in the Bailiwick.

Staff with genuine medical exemptions can opt out of vaccination.

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