Vaccine Take Up Among Social Care Workforce
The National Care Forum (NCF) have carried out a snapshot survey of all members and the response came from organisations representing 1500 social care services in England over the 8th and 9th February 2021. The survey was broken down to cover staff from different types of care settings and each category of service was asked a set of questions about staff take up and access to vaccines.
The survey revealed that there is a long way still to go if the government wants to meet its 15 February target of offering the vaccination to all social care staff. The tables below show the percentage of respondents who reported over 70% of staff vaccinated and under 40% of staff vaccination across a number of care settings.
The biggest gaps appear to be in domiciliary care services – where 38% of those responding had less than 40% of their staff vaccinated. Although over 30% of all services other than care homes for older adults had less than 40% of staff vaccinated.
Reasons for Lack of Take up
When examining the reasons for lack of take up of the vaccine, there is an interesting emerging picture.
- In older peoples care homes, where vaccination take up is generally significantly higher, responses would suggest that issues around medical reasons and hesitancy are absolutely key for current levels of vaccine take up, although the very practical issue of staff being unavailable when the vaccination team was visiting remains a challenge.
- In services where vaccination is currently much less prevalent it appears there is much more balance across the reasons for not having the vaccine with issues such as lack of access, already having a future booked appointment and hesitancy all playing a relatively equal part.
- The exception to this appears to be care homes for working age adults, where hesitancy appears to be a really dominant reason for lack of vaccination. This would be an area where there needs to be more work to understand the reasons behind this and what support should be offered specifically targeted at this workforce.
- An unexpectedly large category of those who have not yet had the vaccine are those with medical reasons not to have it. This does feel like an area that needs more exploration, as it would appear there are potentially significant numbers of staff unable to receive the vaccination due to medical reasons.
Percentage of organisations
Vic Rayner, Executive Director at the NCF says:
“The prioritisation of staff vaccination across all types of social care does not appear to have been followed through with the same level of effectiveness as the campaign to vaccinate all older adults in care homes.
“The voice from providers on the ground gives some indication of where local systems could be improved, such as making sure hospital hubs continue to offer appointments to social care workers, ensuring these appointments are available as a matter of priority and removing any local barriers to vaccine access.
“A positive first step has already been taken towards this by opening the National Booking Service to all social care staff, but more needs to be done to address vaccine hesitancy and a better understanding of the medical barriers to vaccine uptake.
“When it comes to vaccination hesitancy, social care providers need to be supported with tailored resources to build confidence in the vaccine programme, address staff concerns and combat misinformation. We all want to see all care workers offered the vaccine as soon as possible, in line with the government’s target to vaccinate all social care staff by 15 February.”