LBC Views: Unjabbed carers can live with the consequences, Shelagh Fogarty writes

17 June 2021, 11:55 | Updated: 17 June 2021, 14:02

Shelagh Fogarty writes for LBC
Shelagh Fogarty writes for LBC. Picture: LBC
Shelagh Fogarty

By Shelagh Fogarty

LBC Presenter Shelagh Fogarty reacts to plans which could see care staff facing compulsory vaccination.

Government plans to make Covid vaccines compulsory for care home workers are the right plans but disappointing too.

Right because the first priority must be to protect the people most vulnerable to Covid. Disappointing because it’s a sign of how our communal sense of that priority is waning.

Persuasion and conversation haven’t worked well enough. It’s time for a real protective ring to be placed around our care homes, not an imaginary one.

I regard myself as someone who champions the care sector and the people in it. Carers do a tough and often ignored job of providing dignity and friendship in the end years of a person’s life. Carers are underpaid, undervalued and under pressure so it’s a bad day when the compulsion to vaccinate feels like the only option.

Given the events of this past year, I don’t understand how anybody, let alone a carer, baulks at the covid jab.

The efforts so many of us went through to shield old people from coronavirus have been arduous and exhausting. The vaccine is the single most effective way of protecting them and ourselves and it takes seconds to have.

Nobody is being conscripted to go to war, to leave their home for years, to risk their lives. They are being asked to do a small thing to protect their own and other people’s lives.

I’m told by sensible, serious people that carers still refusing the vaccine offer have various reasons…questions, fears, fixed ideas, coercive family or religious figures urging them not to.

What a mess. Each of those requires a different approach. Persuasion would obviously be a happier route through but what if it’s not possible? What then?

It’s time to tell the people still rejecting the vaccine that they’ve had six months to think about it, talk, read, ask about it and now, given the seriousness of the Delta variant and the need for maximum immunity the time for talking is over. Jab or get off the pot. Care for yourself in your glorious unvaccinated way but don’t risk the lives of the people you say you care about.

To love and care for someone is to want what’s best for them. If you want to exercise your right to refuse, go ahead, but care homes and the government are within their rights now to say you are demonstrably not putting those people first.

By all means, put yourself first.

Expose yourself to Covid by rejecting the vaccine but to knowingly expose someone you claim you care for isn’t tolerable.

Adults have to make choices. So make one and live with the consequences.