Social care leader vents frustration about Covid-19 jab no-shows
A social care leader has vented her frustration about people not turning up for appointments for Covid-19 jabs.
Mary Wimbury, the chief executive of Care Forum Wales said it was particularly galling when many vulnerable care home residents are desperate to have them.
There has been a significant number of no-shows across Wales at a time when vaccine supplies are limited.
Another cause for concern was the number of so called Red Flag care homes – where at least one positive test has been registered.
In a number of cases residents in those homes were not being allowed to have the inoculation even when the initial test was a false positive and a subsequent test came back negative.
According to Ms Wimbury, it is now a race against time to get all 23,000 care home residents as well as the 12,000 staff in Wales vaccinated, with the Welsh Government promising that all of them will be given the jab before the end of January.
She said: “I really hope that the Welsh Government meet the target because every day that people are waiting for a vaccine is a day that they are in more danger.
“We’ve seen vaccination of care home staff and residents really ramp up in the last week and this week so I hope we can get there. We really need to get it done.”
She added: “I’m hearing that some homes are being told if they are ‘red’ none of their residents will be vaccinated.
“Being designated as red may just mean you have a member of staff who tests positive on the UK portal routine testing.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are positive. We’re still seeing a lot of false positives.
“Vaccinations are being put off in those care homes and actually, those residents need the vaccination as much as everyone else.
“I’m hearing that some homes are being told if they are ‘red’ none of their residents will be vaccinated.
“Given that red is a status that can mean anything from one member of staff getting a portal positive – at a time when we are seeing lots of false positives to a serious outbreak, this does not seem to be right or in line with Public Health Wales guidance which states that the situation should be risk assessed:
“If a care home has only one case of Covid-19 infection in a resident or staff member, other residents and care home staff should, according to the guidance, be offered vaccination as long as they have not been deemed close contacts of the case requiring self-isolation.
“There’s a significant number of Red Flag care homes across Wales because community transmissions are very high, staff are coming in and out from the community as well as the false positives.
“Care homes are supposed to be being risk-assessed if they’re red and if it’s considered appropriate to do so, they should in most cases, still be vaccinated but that isn’t always happening on the ground.
“It’s very frustrating when you hear about missed appointments with people not turning up to be vaccinated at a time when staff and residents seriously want one.
“It’s especially disappointing when care homes are the top priority group and we are seeing other groups being vaccinated alongside them as well.
“I understand a cancellation hotline is now being set up so hopefully this will lead to fewer unused appointments.
“I don’t think you can underestimate how desperate care home residents and staff are for this vaccination.”