Reports of the UK Government seeking to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for care home staff have little relevance for Scotland.
The Scottish approach to date has been one of close partnership working between the sector, the NHS and the Scottish Government.
We have sought to develop a policy and practice of information and encouragement rather than mandating and instructing.
In large part this has been a successful approach to date. As of the 15th June the vaccination dashboard from PHS details that 100% of care home staff have received both doses. Obviously statistically this does not mean all staff have now been vaccinated because there is a continual flow of new staff etc and there may be some homes with less than 100.% compliance. But even then we have clear measures now in place to ensure new starts are offered the vaccine and where there are gaps that there are targeted efforts to increase uptake.
We have found that answering questions honestly where there are concerns, getting trusted voices to communicate the importance of the message for the staff member’s own safety and that of residents, encouraging peer support and taking the vaccines to care homes have all helped to both remove barriers and reduce reticence.