Support available to ensure care workers can get vaccines and boosters.
Care home staff and those working in social care are being urged to get the booster vaccine in the fight against the spread of Omicron variant.
Scottish Government financial support is available for adult care providers who incur additional costs if employees are vaccinated in working time – so staff can do so without losing earnings or having to take annual leave.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf thanked staff for their efforts but said the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 made it more important than ever that care workers get their COVID-19 booster vaccinations, test themselves regularly and maintain infection prevention measures. Rates of uptake of the booster vaccine are currently lower among social care staff, with 47.7% of frontline social care workers and 54.8% of care home staff having had their booster, than they are in other sectors such as frontline healthcare workers (72%).
Mr Yousaf said:
“I want to thank everyone working in social care who has taken up the offer of vaccination, and has had a booster jag. But I want to encourage every single social care worker to get themselves vaccinated. Even if you’ve been double-vaccinated, we know your immunity against COVID-19 wanes over time. Getting your booster is even more important with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Please do so as soon as possible.
“I’m very grateful to all our social care workers for their continued resilience and ongoing commitment during what I know continues to be a very difficult time. I know staff are likely to be feeling particularly fatigued after more than 20 months of the pandemic and I want to thank you all for supporting each other and working together as we continue to navigate through this.
“However we know that the rate of take up among those working in care homes and social care is not as high as in other sectors. It is crucial, especially for those working with some of our most vulnerable citizens, that you get your booster if you have not already done so.
“Getting vaccinated is vital in protecting you, those you care for, and your friends and family.”
An online booking portal for health and social care workers can be accessed at: www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/vaccinations-for-health-and-social-care-workers
The latest data on vaccine take up, including a breakdown by JCVI priority group, can be found here: COVID-19 Daily Dashboard | Tableau Public
Staff are also urged to check their local Health Board’s website and social media for walk-in clinics that may be available. These are also listed by Health Board area on NHS Inform at www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/invitations-and-appointments/vaccine-open-access-services
Those without online access can also call the National Helpline on 0800 030 8013 to book an appointment.
Care home staff are now being asked to undertake daily LFD testing in addition to their weekly PCR test, and all social care staff are also being encouraged to undertake daily LFD testing.
Care homes should continue to facilitate and support residents to meet in person with their family and friends, in line with the protective measures outlined in guidance to the sector, including encouraging and supporting family and friends to test prior to their visit.