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COVID-19 vaccinations for pharmacists in care homes to be mandatory

Health secretary: "This is the right thing to do"

Pharmacists who work in care homes, even on a part-time basis, will be required to have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination under plans announced today (June 16).

From October, anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England will be required by law to be immunised against COVID-19, unless they are medically exempt, following a 16-week grace period for health workers to receive both doses, the Department for Health and Social Care (DH) said.

This includes anyone who works in a care home full-time – such as care home pharmacists – as well as those who visit for occasional work, under new legislation that will be brought before parliament “at the earliest opportunity”.

The news follows a five-week DH consultation launched in April, which proposed changing the law to require care home providers to only “deploy” vaccinated professionals.

The DH also consulted on whether this policy should be “extended to include other professionals who visit the care home, for example NHS workers providing close personal care to people living in the care home”.

The original scope of the consultation proposed applying this only to care homes that look after patients aged 65 and over, but following the consultation the DH decided to extend this to all CQC-registered homes.

The DH said that a response to the consultation, which ended on May 26, will be published “in due course”.

'Safeguarding' care home residents

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We have a responsibility to do all we can to safeguard those receiving care including in the NHS and so will be consulting further on whether to extend to other health and social care workers.

“This is the right thing to do and a vitally important step to continue protecting care homes now and in the future. I’d urge anyone working in care homes to get their jab as soon as possible.”

However, Northern Ireland's health minister Robin Swann said today that mandatory vaccines were "not necessary" in that country because vaccine uptake among care home workers was high enough already.

"We're not in the place where we have to make vaccines compulsory at this minute in time," Mr Swann told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster.

15 Comments
Question: 
How do you feel about the new government proposals?

Sick and Tired, Community pharmacist

Imagine having residents in a care home, who are there for physical disabilities, as opposed to mental. Imagine said residents, who are of complete sound mind, declining the vaccination on the grounds of their informed decisions on risks outweighing benefits, as is their right to do so, but the staff aren't given the same choice.  This is becoming pretty perverse for a virus the government has stated we have a 99.7% chance of survival against until we hit the grand old age of 80. Then again, Matt Hancock has a finger in every pie, especially with his shares in Genomic UK & PPE supplies, and is making an absolute fortune through this. Meanwhile the general public is fighting for a choice about what goes into their body. Obscene. 

Watto 59, Community pharmacist

What other vaccines are mandatory in this country ? Whether a person gets vaccinated should be their decision made after careful thought and on the balance of probabilities taking into consideration all the specific factors relating to the individual concerned.  As far as I am aware a vaccine's primary use is to protect the individual from disease.  Any benefit conferred to a wider population through mass vaccination is welcome and to be encouraged but is secondary to protection of the individual.  Vulnerable groups are free to make the same choices as everyone else and by now have had every opportunity to make their decision.  Forcing a person to have a medical procedure against their will or lose their livelyhood looks to me like coercion which in human rights terms is not "tosh".  Furthermore there could be significant uninteded consequences of allowing this to be unopposed. 

Sick and Tired, Community pharmacist

Exactly this!

Sick and Tired, Community pharmacist

What's caring about taking away choice? Surely if PPE & LFT's work this isn't essential. Who's accountable if there's an ADR? What a mess. 

Sick and Tired, Community pharmacist

This absolutely disgusts me. Every one of us should have freedom of choice for what goes into our bodies. I hope the GPhC will be having a strong arm in contesting this. If they don't & this goes ahead I'll be quitting the profession. 

Oliver Staunton, Information Technology

I think GPhC are there to protect the profession , and uphold it to the standards expected by members of the public. One of the main tenets of practising as a pharmacist is the principle "make patients and the public your first concern". Vaccination has been shown to reduce transmission, and so help protect public health. If you don't want to be vaccinated, that is fine, but it might be incompatible with the principles expected of a pharmacist (working in a care home).

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

 

I think we need to remain scientific on this one - there is no clear evidence that vaccines reduce spread. The clinical trials looked purely at reduction in symptoms (not deaths), and expressly did not look at contraction of the virus itself. 

https://post.parliament.uk/covid-19-vaccines-and-virus-transmission/

"Vaccines are intended to protect individuals from disease by either preventing or reducing infections or by reducing the severity of disease from infections that do occur. This protection from disease should reduce transmission rates within a population in two main ways:"

and 

"There is some emerging evidence that the vaccines currently in use in the UK to protect against COVID-19 are having a wider effect on transmission."

Many other interventions that we are practicing have little or no evidence at all, and as professionals and scientists we must ask why after 18 months of this the evidence does not exist;

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/m20-6817

A number of people have raised very interesting and relevant points as regards Human Rights. 

Article 3 of the EU declaration of Human Rights -

"

Article 3 - Right to integrity of the person

 

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.
2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:
(a) the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by law;
(b) the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons;
(c) the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain;
(d) the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings."

 

I can finish on free and informed consent. Are patients and pharmacists being told when the vaccine is being administered that it as unlicensed medicine?

https://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/ethical-guidance-for-doctors/good-practice-in-prescribing-and-managing-medicines-and-devices/prescribing-unlicensed-medicines

"You must give patients, or their parents or carers, sufficient information about the medicines you propose to prescribe, to allow them to make an informed decision."

There was a very interesting paper published last week that I am not sure has been widely disseminated;

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-393X/9/7/693/htm

This is a peer reviewed study published in the journal 'Vaccines' 

For anyone involved in the administration or discussion of COVID vaccines, it it is essential reading. 

 

locum norfolk, Locum pharmacist

Driving your car contributes to pollution and causes lung conditions. You still failing the profession? This is just a power move over the population. Those blinded by their NHS glasses need a check.

Bob Dunkley, Locum pharmacist

Then leave the profession, this is still a calling that is science based, and the science says that vaccination for Covid is the way to go, especially when dealing with vulnerable people in sheltered housing. We all can say some action breaches our freedom of choice, but that is a selfish attitude, and we on occasion must place our   feelings to one side for the greater good. We are still a caring profession, or we were last time I looked.

Watto 59, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

The sheltered and vulnerable people should be vaccinated and therefore protected. This is a not so thin end of a wedge which will lead to further violations of human rights and allow this government to continue their dystopian  policies. All representive bodies should be fiercely opposing this. The government is being enboldened by the ease  which it has been able to impose draconian restrictions. It will continue to do so unless they meet some appropriate resistance.

locum norfolk, Locum pharmacist

At least someone understands what's going on. Well done mate

Matthew Edwards, Community pharmacist

Its not the fist vaccine to be classed as mandatory.  To class it as a human rights violation is a load of tosh.  Where is the moral and social responsibility to ensure that a group of people is as well protected as they can be.  If you don't want the vaccine then you could be putting the people in the home at risk.  To do so is not acting in the best interests of your patients (if you are involved in that setting) and I thought that was ours and society's role.

Watto 59, Community pharmacist

What other vaccines are mandatory in this country ? Whether a person gets vaccinated should be their decision made after careful thought and on the balance of probabilities taking into consideration all the specific factors relating to the individual concerned.  As far as I am aware a vaccine's primary use is to protect the individual from disease.  Any benefit conferred to a wider population through mass vaccination is welcome and to be encouraged but is secondary to protection of the individual.  Vulnerable groups are free to make the same choices as everyone else and by now have had every opportunity to make their decision.  Forcing a person to have a medical procedure against their will or lose their livelyhood looks to me like coercion which in human rights terms is not "tosh".  Furthermore there could be significant uninteded consequences of allowing this to be unopposed.

Matthew Edwards, Community pharmacist

Hep B in surgical environments? This protects everyone involved. It's a sensible extrapolation to assume that everyone involved in care that deals with the most vulnerable groups be double vaccinated against covid

Watto 59, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Yes I accept exposure prone procedures in NHS requires specific protections but would not lead to unemployment if this was declined or not possible.

It is somewhat different from a universal  "mandation" (Matt Hancock's word not mine) or  unemployment for all care home personnel.  Encouragement rather than enforcement would produce a similar outcome with far less controversy.

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