Supporting you all to get the Covid-19 vaccine
During these challenging and difficult times the health, safety and wellbeing of our supported individuals and colleagues is always our absolute priority. As you are all aware, people with learning disabilities are at much higher risk if they contract Covid-19, we are therefore so immensely proud of our dedicated operational teams, managers and support teams who have all been committed in the past year to ensuring the people we support are safe, well and happy – we could not have got through 2020 without you all. But as we go into the first quarter of 2021, it is now more important than ever that our supported individuals need you!
As new, faster spreading strains of the virus have been detected across the UK, it goes without saying the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine could not have come at a more opportune time. The start of the NHS’s vaccination campaign hopefully marks the beginning of the end of a pandemic that has upended all our lives.
We understand that some of you may be concerned about getting the Covid-19 vaccine, however we wanted to put your mind at ease and provide you with some important information about the vaccine, its benefits, how it is administered and hearing first hand from colleagues about their vaccination journeys – so you can all make an informative decision.
Health and Social Care workers have been prioritised by the Government as being one of the first priority groups to receive the vaccine. Managers will be notified (through GPs or via the NHS) about the vaccine where they will need to put forward a list of staff to partake in the vaccine.
So please confirm with your Manager that you are willing to have the vaccine so you don’t miss out.
Why it’s important for all our staff to get the vaccine
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. And the latest Covid-19 vaccinations are the safest way to help build protection against this terrible and highly infectious disease. Although getting the vaccine doesn’t mean you can’t spread the virus, it may make it less likely. And if more people are vaccinated, that also reduces the potential for the virus to form new variants.
Having the vaccine means you are much less likely to become ill from Covid-19, which can cause serious illness and, in some cases, death. Not only will getting the vaccine benefit you as a responsible employer, but it could also benefit those around you – your family, colleagues and the people you support. It’s about everyone’s health and well-being. Unfortunately, the mortality rate of people with learning disabilities contracting Covid-19 and dying is high compared to those who do not have a learning disability, with Gov.uk declaring that 451 per 100,000 people registered as having a learning disability died with Covid-19 between 21 March and 5 June 2020, a death rate 4.1 times higher than the general population after adjusting for other factors such as age and sex.
Hear from our colleagues who have already had the vaccine
Our colleagues working across our services from different ethnic groups have already had the vaccine – managers, team co-ordinators and support workers. You can read their honest experiences and testimonials below…
On the Consensus HUB you will also find some useful documents from our Quality Checkers, John and Jamie, detailing their experience of receiving the vaccine. There is also a document aimed at the individuals you support explaining the vaccine and why it is important they receive it. All of this information will not only be useful to yourself but also to share with the individuals you support who may be fearful of getting the vaccine and to help support their choice about getting it.
How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?
*The below information has been taken from the NHS website
The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.
Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective. So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.
“The coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.” – NHS Website
How is the Covid-19 vaccine given?
The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. It’s given as 2 doses. You will have the 2nd dose 3 to 12 weeks after having the 1st dose.
The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection. There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine.
This means it is important to:
- continue to follow social distancing guidance
- if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people
You can also find out more information here if you are of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding and have concerns about getting the vaccine.
To find out more about the vaccines approved in the UK, see:
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine | Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine | Moderna vaccine
- What are the side effects?
- Can you catch Covid from the vaccine?
- Can you go back to normal activities after having your vaccine?
- What do you do after your first dose?
- Will the vaccine protect you?
- Can you give Covid to anyone else if you have had the vaccine?
You will find the answers to all of these frequently asked questions here.
An important question – if I have had Coronavirus, do I still need the vaccine?
The answer is yes, while your body may have built up some natural immunity to coronavirus if you’ve already had it, we don’t know for certain how long this immunity lasts or how well it protects you from catching it again. This natural immunity from having an illness doesn’t usually last as long as the immunity of a vaccine, so it’s recommended that if you’ve had coronavirus you do still get a vaccine when it becomes available to you.*
*info taken from ageuk.org.uk
For more information on the Covid-19 vaccination please see below:
GOV.UK website | Public Health England Resources | NHS website