A third of Southampton Care Home Staff have not been vaccinated against Covid-19, NHS data has shown.
1,229 care home workers in Southampton were eligible for the first dose of a vaccination as of the 7th of March, but only 816 had received it, leaving 34% of staff without the jab.
Uptake rates vary greatly across the country, with the 40% of care home staff in London as yet without their first jab, compared to the national average of 26%. The lowest proportion of unvaccinated staff by region is in the North East and Yorkshire at 22%.
Care home staff and residents have been a priority to be vaccinated from the beginning of the vaccine rollout, and the government had stated that everyone in the top four priority groups, including those aged over 75 and the clinically extremely vulnerable, had been offered a first dose.
A growing number of care homes have since made it a requirement for new staff to have the vaccine, however there is no sign of it becoming mandated by the Government.
Of care home residents in Southampton, 92% of those eligible have received the first dose of the vaccine – 688 residents. That is only slightly lower than the national average of 92%.
UNISON, which represents care workers, has warned against trying to pressure staff into receiving the vaccinations, saying that ‘Vaccination is of vital importance. But the heavy-handed approach of a small number of care employers is undermining the rollout. Staff need encouragement if they’re to come forward… not threats.’
Statistics show that young women are those most vaccine-hesitant in society, with 1 in 4 of women aged 18-34 refusing to take it. Part of this has been due to fake news stories circulating about the potential side effects that the vaccinations could have on fertility. Pfizer have confirmed in a statement that ‘there are no data to suggest that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine causes infertility.’
In the meantime, efforts are being made both by UNISON and employers to encourage greater trust in the vaccine in an order to protect everyone.