NEWS: Erdington MP survey reveals “worryingly” high number of care home staff refusing Covid-19 vaccine

Words by Adam Smith

A “worrying” amount of care home staff in Erdington and Kingstanding are refusing to have the Covid-19 vaccine, a recent survey has revealed.

Shockingly 67% of 30 care homes in the constituency questioned by Jack Dromey MP had staff who have decided against having the life-saving jab.

One home reported 23 out of 25 staff refused the vaccine, including the manager. In another 75% of staff turned down the chance to be vaccinated.

The reasons for refusal show widespread misinformation about the vaccine’s side effects including fears of fertility problems or the jab being poisonous.

Mr Dromey said: “The results of my latest care home survey reveal worrying levels of vaccine uptake amongst care home staff.

“The fact that so many staff in care homes across Erdington are refusing the vaccine is deeply concerning. There is a significant risk posed to care home residents in particular who, for one reason or another, are unable to be vaccinated.

“What is also concerning is some of the reasons that were given for refusing the vaccines. Myths such as the vaccine is ‘poisonous’ and it ’causes infertility’ were both quoted in the responses, despite these being comprehensively disproven. Those who are responsible for sharing these dangerous myths should be utterly ashamed of themselves.”

The UK’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty believes care home staff have a “professional responsibility” to have the vaccine.

Government ministers are discussing whether to make the vaccine mandatory for NHS and care sector staff but unions including the GMB have warned against the idea.

Three of the UK’s biggest care home owners, Care UK, Barchester and Advina Healthcare, are insisting staff have the jab and from now on will only hire people who have been vaccinated.

Mr Dromey’s survey also revealed problems with PPE equipment not getting through to care homes seem to be solved.

Currently only three local care homes currently have current Covid outbreaks. – two with one member of staff affected, but another has seven staff and 14 residents currently battling the virus.

Mr Dromey also praised local care home staff for their bravery over the last 12 months.

He said: “Throughout the pandemic I have been in regular contact with Erdington’s care homes, including three surveys of all 47 local care homes. I have heard first-hand the extremely difficult challenges that staff and residents have faced.

“What has shone through over the past 12 months is the dedication and commitment of care home staff to the residents they care for. I know how hard they have worked, and they have gone above and beyond to provide the very best care in extremely difficult circumstances.”

He added: “I’d like to pay tribute to all care home staff across Erdington for their heroic work.”

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines direct from the NHS visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination

NEWS: Council and NHS to hold Covid Vaccine Webinar/Q&A

Words by Ed King

On Thursday 4th February, Birmingham City Council will be hosting an online Covid Vaccine Webinar/Q&A session to address questions and concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine roll outs.

People can register for a free place via the popular event ticket outlet Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/138628992047

Running from between 6pm and 7:30pm this Thursday, the first in the series of five citywide sessions will be focussing on North Birmingham – with local residents across Erdington invited to attend.

Hosted by Councillor Paulette Hamilton, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health, Birmingham City Council will be joined by NHS staff who have been fighting coronavirus since March last year.

The online events will be a chance to hear direct from Council and NHS staff who have the latest information about the Covid-19 vaccines and the roll out process – with organisers wanting ‘local residents to ask questions, discuss and highlight their own thoughts or concerns.’

At the time of writing, there have been over 100,000 deaths in the UK from coronavirus – with the office of National Statistics counting a death toll of 178 in Erdington alone by last November.

Listed on the NHS website there are currently four GP surgeries administering Covid vaccines across Erdington, with people directly invited to get the jab in the priority order set by Government. There is also a walk-up Covid testing facility on Orphanage Road which is open to all.

Yet as vaccines are rolled out across the county, with a triage system to prioritise the millions to be treated, many people are expressing concerns about the inoculation – or are still unclear as to when, where, and how they will receive the jab.

In a recent interview, Dr Dave Sangha, Executive Chairman of the Midlands Medical Partnership, told Erdington Local: “Please be aware that the current Covid workload pressure in the local hospitals is extreme. Covid is real, please take it seriously.

“The Vaccine is safe, please have it. A lot of the social media misinformation is sad to see, it is putting people off and there’s a huge risk to that. It is safe.”

To register for a place on the Covid Vaccine Webinar/Q&A, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/138628992047

For more information about the Covid vaccines, direct from the NHS, visit www.birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk