'Timebomb' as Norfolk faces loss of 450 care workers without Covid jabs

Nurse Maria Alexiou preparing COVID vaccinations at the new mass vaccination centre at Connaught Hal

Some 450 care workers in Norfolk are unlikely to meet the Covid jab November deadline. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Further fears have been raised over the "timebomb" facing Norfolk's care homes when staff who have not had coronavirus vaccinations are no longer able to work.

Norfolk care providers face the loss of around 450 more care workers from November 11, when staff who work in Care Quality Commission-registered homes will need to have had two Covid-19 doses.

James Bullion, Norfolk County Council's director of adult social care, recently warned the sector is facing a "cliff edge" in the run-up to Christmas and appealed for more people to consider a career in social care.

And Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk county secretary for UNISON, said he feared the government's demand for double vaccinations would see more workers leave the profession.

Jonathan Dunning branch secretary of Unison Norfolk Counties.Photo : Steve Adams

Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk UNISON county secretary. - Credit: Steve Adams

He said: "I fear workers are already leaving or are going to get up to November and then leave.

"These are people who are often on or just above minimum wage and I think they will just walk away to get similarly paid jobs in supermarkets. That really is a hidden timebomb."

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Mr Dunning said some care workers had cited conspiracy theories as their reason not to get jabs, while others had expressed fertility concerns.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says there is no evidence to suggest Covid-19 vaccines affect fertility.

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Mr Dunning said UNISON had been trying to point people in the right direction to accurate information.

Dorrington House, Dereham. Pictured are owners Steve and Lorraine Dorrington. Picture: Ian Burt

Lorraine and Steven Dorrington. - Credit: Ian Burt

Steven Dorrington, who runs Dorrington Care Homes in Watton, Dereham and Wells with his wife Lorraine, said 180 of his 185 staff had now been vaccinated.

He said: "We have had three or four who have left. I think some care workers see it as an opportunity to go to do other jobs.

"We did spend a lot of time talking to staff about it, presenting them with information and getting GPs to mention it when they were in the care homes."

Mr Dorrington said he was not anticipating a significant impact on his homes come November 11, but that some homes which were less well prepared could struggle.

And he said it was "double standards" that, while care home workers need to have been vaccinated, workers there was no such mandatory requirement among NHS workers.

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