CARE home staff who have declined to get vaccinated or can’t be vaccinated for clinical reasons will be able to continue working as usual, NHS Shetland has confirmed.
Because the Pfizer vaccine currently administered to health and social care workers in Shetland does not stop the Covid-19 virus from being transmitted all infection control measures will remain in place after employees have had the first dose of the vaccine.
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that more than ten per cent of the local population has received a first dose of a Covid vaccine, either the Pfizer/BioNTech or the AstraZeneca vaccine.
But NHS Shetland was unable to say this week how many care home employees have declined to be vaccinated.
Employers can’t force their staff to get immunised but several larger care home providers in the UK have said that they would not hire people who refuse to have the Covid vaccine on non-medical grounds.
A NHS spokesperson added: “There are currently no plans to stop people working if they have declined to have the vaccine.
“There are some staff who will not have been able to have the vaccine for clinical reasons and they will still work as usual.
“The fact that someone has had the vaccine does not mean they cannot transmit the infection so whether or not an employee has had the vaccine, all infection control measures still need to apply.
“The aim of vaccinating staff is to reduce the risks to staff working in health and social care from contracting an occupational infectious disease and ensure we have enough people to care for patients.”
Care home managers are supported by NHS Shetland and Public Health Scotland in encouraging their staff to be vaccinated.
Staff will receive their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine within 12 weeks of the first dose, NHS Shetland said.
Meanwhile, care home staff have a “high uptake” of weekly PCR swab testing for Covid, the health board said.
Care at home staff will be tested twice weekly using lateral flow device (LFD) testing. Kits will be going directly to the teams meaning the health board will not be involved in this testing programme.
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