Quarter of care home group staff unvaccinated despite boss' 'endless' pleas

Steve Dorrington, who runs care homes in Wells, Watton and Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Steve Dorrington, who runs care homes in Wells, Watton and Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A quarter of staff working at a group of Norfolk care homes remain unvaccinated, despite its manager “endlessly” telling them to have the jab. 

“They should have it. It doesn’t only protect you, it protects others from you as well,” said Steve Dorrington, manager of Dorrington House Care Homes, which has three homes in Dereham, Watton and Wells. 

“The vaccine is the way out of this, definitely,” he added.

He said he had “endlessly” told his staff that they should take it, but a quarter remained unwilling for a variety of reasons. 

Some cited unfounded rumours that the vaccine would reduce their fertility.

Guidance published by the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists and the British Fertility Society has said there is “absolutely no evidence” the vaccine has any effect on fertility in men or women. 

Others said they were more generally frightened of having it, were “scared stiff” of injections, or cited underlying medical conditions.

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Only in very rare circumstances would an underlying medical condition, such as a history of severe allergic reactions to the vaccine’s ingredients, prevent a person from being able to have it - and people concerned about this should still discuss their situation with the NHS when invited to take the jab.

Dorrington House Care Home on Quebec Road in Dereham.

Dorrington House Care Home on Quebec Road in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Mr Dorrington said all visitors to the care homes had to take lateral flow tests, and all staff took the mandatory tests twice a week. 

“If I make it [mandatory vaccination] a term of condition [of employment], I wouldn’t have enough staff - it’s like shooting yourself in the foot,” said Mr Dorrington. 

A government consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment in adult care homes has been launched.

Mr Dorrington said he could not see how such a restriction could be effectively enforced or made lawful, especially given human rights law. 

“I can’t see how you could enforce it. You’ve got people delivering stuff to the kitchens. You’ve got people [coming in] fixing things,” he said. 

“What are you going to do about the families?” he also pointed out.

“You’ve got no control over the increase in visiting - we don’t know if they’re telling the truth or not [about whether they are vaccinated].”

The government’s consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-vaccination-a-condition-of-deployment-in-older-adult-care-homes