EXCLUSIVE: Home care employers expect high vaccine uptake, says UKHCA

COVID vaccine

United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) is working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to meet a high level of demand for the COVID-19 vaccine amongst the home care workforce.

The organisation said it is “encouraged” to hear from employers that they expect a high take-up of the vaccine when it is offered to their staff in the coming weeks.

This expectation comes despite fears from some care leaders that “fake news” could convince up to 20% of staff to refuse a COVID vaccination.

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UKHCA policy director Colin Angel told HCI: “We are really encouraged that employers tell us that they expect a high take-up of the coronavirus vaccine amongst the homecare workforce. It is really important for our front-line workers, and for the safety and confidence of people using essential care and support at home.”

A date is yet to be set for the wide-scale vaccination of the home care workforce, but the Prime Minister said in his TV address last night that he wants everyone in the “top four priority groups”, which includes frontline social care workers, to have been offered a first dose of the vaccine by the middle of February.

Angel added: “UKHCA has been working with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England to ensure that the vaccination process will be effective. 

“It needs to satisfy high levels of demand and must cover the wide range of working arrangements amongst our workforce, including those who may work a significant distance from their employers’ base.”

More than a million people have already been given a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine since last month.

And the first people in the UK received the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday morning.

Speaking to the nation last night, Boris Johnson said: “If we succeed in vaccinating all those [top four] groups, we will have removed huge numbers of people from the path of the virus.

“And of course that will eventually enable us to lift many of the restrictions we’ve endured for so long.”

The minister for vaccine deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, tweeted the government’s aim was to administer 13.9 million doses of the vaccines by the middle of February.

Top of the priority list are care home residents and their carers, followed by people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers.

Next on the list are people over the age 75, and the fourth group are people aged 70 and those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

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Sarah Clarke

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