Nurses to meet with unvaccinated social care workers to address concerns
Deborah Price Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: Leigh Prather - stock.adobe.com
Nurses are now meeting one-to-one with social care workers in Hertfordshire who have not had the COVID-19 vaccine, in a bid to increase take-up rates.
Across the county there are 35,000 front-line social care staff working in the care and voluntary sectors – supporting some of the county’s must vulnerable residents.
And while the ‘vast majority’ are reported to have been vaccinated against COVID-19, some have not.
Now a team of nurses are speaking to unvaccinated social care worker in the county – giving them a confidential opportunity to talk through any concerns.
The move was highlighted to a meeting of the county council’s public health and community safety cabinet panel on Friday (June 11), by director of public health Jim McManus.
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“We have nurses at present going around every social care worker in the county having an individual conversation […] where they haven’t been vaccinated – and talking about risks and doing it very confidentially and supportively,” he said.
The move as one of a number of measures designed to increase vaccination rates in the county, which also include walk-in vaccination clinics.
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Following the meeting, a spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said there were more than 35,000 front line social care staff in the county working for a range of organisations.
“Front-line social care staff have been identified as a priority for vaccination as they work with some of the most clinically vulnerable people in society,” he said.
“The vast majority of social care staff have been vaccinated, and we are working with care homes to encourage those that haven’t been vaccinated yet to take up the offer.
“This includes a number of staff who have recently started jobs in care, and were therefore not included in the original roll out of vaccinations to care staff earlier in the year.
“We are providing a wide range of resources and support, including walk-in and pop-up vaccination clinics.
“And where care homes request it, we are arranging for clinical staff speak to care workers individually so we can understand and address any individual circumstances or concerns that may be making them hesitant about vaccination, and to reassure them about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.”
The county council does not have figures for vaccine uptake across the whole social care sector in the county.
But they say that in Hertfordshire’s care homes around 80 per cent of staff have already been vaccinated.
Mr McManus also reported that overall 725,000 people had received the first dose of the vaccine in Hertfordshire – and 474,000 had already had second dose.
And he said that in Hertfordshire in almost every age cohort above 40 the percentage uptake was in the high 70s or above.
But he stressed there was a local determination to ensure vaccination rates were as high as possible.
“We will do whatever it takes to do more – and where there are ideas we would like to hear from them,” he said.
Mr McManus highlighted data that suggested two doses of vaccine – whether ‘Pfizer’ or ‘Oxford’ – are more than 90 per cent effective against hospitalisation.
That data also suggested that two doses of vaccine were 80 per cent effective against symptomatic disease – although that reduces to 30 per cent with one dose.
And Mr McManus said to the board members that the government’s decision not to ease the COVID-19 restrictions from June 21 would enable every adult to receive a first dose of the vaccine – and for as many second doses to be delivered as possible.
Mr McManus reported that since May 14 the infection rate in the county had doubled from 12.5 to 38.5 (June 14) – due largely to Delta variant.
And he said most hospital admissions had been people who had been eligible for vaccination, but who had had either one or no doses.
Despite a lower rate of hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients, he stressed that hospitals remained busy with non-COVID patients.
And he said keeping COVID-19 infection levels low, meant non-COVID demand could be met.
He said: “We need to stop infections in order for people who are ill and need treatment for cases other than COVID not to be displaced from health care services.
“So our primary duty as residents is one of solidarity with people who need healthcare right now."