No Mandatory Vaccination for Care Home Staff in Wales

Wales will not be copying England in making Covid vaccination mandatory for care home staff. First Minister Mark Drakeford says that staff in positions of care should take the vaccine, but “there is a very big step taken when you move into compulsion”. This decision is likely to have been swayed by the fact that such a high proportion of care workers have already been vaccinated anyway. WalesOnline has the story.

In Wales the take-up of the vaccine has been extremely high, resulting in as many as 98% of care home residents and 92.3% of care home workers having had their first dose. The percentage when it comes to both doses is equally encouraging – 93.7% for care home residents and 85.7% for care home staff.

However, there are still 2,960 care home employees and 295 care home residents who are yet to receive their first dose – despite being in the top priority groups when the roll-out was announced last December.

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Government confirmed there were no plans to make Covid jabs mandatory for care home staff at this point. She said: “Protecting our most vulnerable people in care homes is at the heart of our response to the pandemic and vaccine strategy. 

“While Covid vaccination rates are at such high levels in this group – and in other priority groups and age groups – in Wales we do not see the need at this time to introduce compulsory measures.

“We will continue to work with the sector to promote the importance of vaccination and support any care workers who have not yet been vaccinated to get a vaccine.”

The country has, however, followed England’s lead in delaying the easing of lockdown restrictions by four weeks because “the Delta variant has entered Wales and quickly spread throughout the country”. The First Minister is quoted in Sky News.

There is sustained and accelerating transmission, not just in north and southeast Wales but in all parts of Wales.

It is now the most dominant variant in new cases in Wales. We are once again facing a serious public health situation.

The WalesOnline report is worth reading in full.

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