COVID vaccinations at less than 20% amongst staff at two Waltham care companies

Two care companies providing home visits in Waltham Forest have reported less than a fifth of their staff are vaccinated against COVID.

Last week, councillors were told one provider working in the borough was so hostile when contacted by Waltham Forest Council that it has given up trying to engage.

A meeting of the adult social care scrutiny committee on November 3 heard it was unclear how many care staff not based in care homes have had the jab, since they are not yet legally required to be vaccinated.

As of October 20, 68 per cent of home-care workers reported receiving the vaccine, although council officers believe the real figure is more likely to be 85 per cent.

Michael Cleary, the council’s head of integrated commissioning, told the commitee: “My attempt at engaging with one provider was met by a hostile and abusive call, so I instructed my staff not to engage with them anymore.

“With other providers, we know staff are vaccinated to a high level.

“Some feedback that we’re getting is that simply getting online to record vaccination levels is a challenge, others are saying they have reached a plateau in staff willing to be vaccinated.”

Referring to figures not made public, committee member Jonathan O’Dea said reported vaccination rates are below 20 per cent at two providers.

The local NHS trust, Barts Health, has continued to hold outreach events encouraging those who are nervous to get vaccinated.

However, a representative from Waltham Forest’s patient advocacy service Healthwatch said that, at one meeting, medical staff were unable to refute all the concerns people raised.

Committee member Anna Mbachu said she had noticed a lot of hesitancy among her fellow black residents.

She explained that a “motif” in the community was that people feared “being a guinea pig”.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter