Organisations call for all social workers to be prioritised for vaccinations

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) argue that social workers should be a high priority for vaccination.

Organisations representing social workers have called on the government to protect the workforce with the forthcoming vaccinations ‘as a matter of priority’.

Jenny Coles, ADCS President, said the Government ‘must do all it can’ to protect essential workers in the children’s social care workforce, as well as foster carers.

“Despite the new and increased restrictions, many of our staff will remain on the front line providing vital support for those children and families that need it the most,” Ms. Coles said, adding It is essential that we can ensure their safety as quickly as possible.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, published 30 December 2020, states that staff working in care homes for older adults and frontline health and social care workers are priority groups 1 and 2 respectively, but it is unclear whether professionals in front-line children’s social care are included in this.

In a position statement, BASW says it is working to ensure social workers and social care workers in all types of provider organisations are prioritised for vaccination and have “access equal to that for health and other priority staff within the practicalities of the roll out programme.”

The association also warned that social workers should be “particularly alert and informed in respect of informed consent, parental consent and processes to determine best interests when a person lacks capacity to decide about the vaccine, to protect people’s rights and wellbeing.”

The statement also recommended that social workers take up vaccination, after reports in December that two in five care staff would not currently take the vaccine.

Take up of a vaccine is not legally required, and employers can encourage uptake but cannot make it mandatory or a condition of employment.

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