Sajid Javid questions unvaccinated care workers
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Ruslana Mironova has had to leave the industry she had spent 15 years in after deciding not to get the jab. She is one of around 32,000 care workers in the UK who have refused to get the vaccination. Government rules mean all of these people will not be allowed to work in care homes or care settings from Thursday and Ruslana, 46, feels this will lead to a huge staffing crisis in the industry.
The mum told Bristol Live: “I am not afraid of speaking out on this. It’s not fair for the 30,000 carers who have left their jobs and it’s not fair for the people being cared for – there is already a shortage of carers and NHS staff and now the government is creating an even bigger problem.
“I’m very disappointed, it’s very sad. I’ve worked as a carer for 15 years and it is a job that I love. It should be our choice whether to have the vaccination or not.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday announced NHS staff in England must be double jabbed by April 1 too. Approximately 103,000 NHS staff have not had their first Covid jab at present.
Ruslana had worked at Badminton Place, a luxury £10million “all-inclusive” care home which opened near Catbrain, Bristol, on September 1, 2020. She left that job in September this year.
“I feel all this with my heart. The problem is that the Government are now creating an even bigger staffing shortage. Before the care homes were struggling, no one is talking about this,” Ruslana, originally of Cyprus, said.
“I worked through the pandemic when at the start they were sending patients out of hospitals without testing them and they had covid and we weren’t given the right PPE, and the Government didn’t think much about the safety of patients or carers then.
“I care about the people I care for, and I’m really disappointed with the government, not with my managers – they have no choice either.
“It was difficult – what could I say when asked why I left care work after 15 years? So I have change my career by 360 degrees.”
The government says the science indicates having the Covid-19 vaccination reduces the risk of catching and transmitting the virus, so reduces the risk of staff passing the virus on to residents and patients in care homes or care settings.
The rules were announced in June this year for carers, who had to be double vaccinated by September, ahead of the enforcement, which begins on Thursday this week.
The new rules for NHS staff come into force on April 1 and only cover England. Health authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have not indicated they plan similar regulations, something which Ruslana says calls the whole scheme into question.
“England is the only place. I have friends in Germany who also work in care homes and there is nothing like this here. I get that the covid vaccine might help you not get ill if you get covid, but it doesn’t stop you passing it on, so who are we protecting from having it?” she said.
“I am not an anti-vaxxer. I have had all the other vaccines all my life. I have the flu jab every year. That’s a vaccine that has been developed over many years and is shown to be safe. The Covid vaccine has been made so quickly and I don’t want to be an experimental mouse. The time is too small to know the long-term effects of this vaccine,” she said.
“My daughter is 20 and when she had the vaccine in September, she had a reaction and an anaphylactic shock.”
The Health Secretary said the same rule that mandates the Covid vaccine for NHS workers has had a positive effect with care home workers. Since June, when the rule change was announced, the number of unvaccinated care staff in England has dropped from 88,000 to 32,000, he told Parliament.
Bristol Live asked NHS and care organisations in Bristol about the announcement today and the enforcement of the rules regarding care workers this week.
The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and Sirona Healthcare, which is commissioned to run NHS care services across much of the region, both refused to say how many NHS staff or care workers were unvaccinated, and said the question should be directed to the Department of Health.
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