AQA

Do my support workers need to be vaccinated?

08.07.21 06:58 PM By Ian
Your own vaccination is your best protection from Covid-19, and worrying about other people's doesn't seem very helpful, writes Peter Van Benthem.  ​

Hi everyone, and especially hi to people like me who have support workers coming into your homes pretty frequently - so that you can live well with your family and friends.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has made life more complicated for us, just as it has for most people. Certainly, it has been harder to keep ourselves healthy.

 

Last year I suggested people make a special effort to get vaccinated against the flu, so that they had less chance of getting flu and Covid together. 

 

This year, you can get vaccinated against Covid directly. And again I encourage you to make a booking and take your shots - this time your Covid shots - unless you have a very good reason not to.

 

This brings up a question that came up last year for some people: Do my support workers need to be vaccinated?

 

I think the suggestion I made on that front for flu still makes sense for Corona: it’s your shot that protects you, and not someone else’s shot.

 

Of course you can argue that you’d have even more protection if all your support workers got vaccinated. If you’ve already got your shots, and your household has too, you could raise that point with your support workers.

I know I wouldn't be getting anyone kicked off my team just because I'd found out they weren't vaccinated. 

I’ve had conversations with members of my team. From those talks I’ve gained more awareness of how respectful I need to be of people’s personal choices. People might have very strong reasons for not getting vaccinated, or for why they’re not ready. And their reasons might be connected with something very private - in other words, with a part of their life or their health that’s their business, not mine. For as long as governments don’t make it mandatory, getting a Covid vaccination is a personal choice.

 

What if you know that someone on your support team won’t get a Covid vaccine?

 

Being completely realistic here, if you want to push the point then you can find a reason for having that person kicked off your team. So then the question is, would you want to.

Maybe it depends on who your support workers are, and the roles that they play in your life. I know I wouldn’t be getting anyone kicked off my team just because I’d found out they weren’t vaccinated.

 

Why not?

 

Well for me, if I’m vaccinated and my family is vaccinated, the next thing keeping us all healthy is the stability of my support team.

 

It is much more important to me to keep working with people who I already know and trust, than to worry about whether they’ve had a Covid vaccine.

 

Or to put it another way, I think I would create a bigger health risk for my family through the stress and strain of disrupting my team, than from working with someone unvaccinated.

 

You might look at life differently. And of course that’s your call. Feel free to share your view with me and with others by leaving a comment on this story, or just ask a question. I’d love to hear your feedback.

 

You can find out here how to make a booking for your Covid-19 vaccination: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/book-your-vaccine-appointment

 

Almost certainly, you and your support workers are now eligible for a vaccine. If you’re in doubt, you can check here: https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility

 

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Author Peter van Benthem is Community Engagement & Network Coordinator with AQA. He has been living with a C4 complete spinal cord injury since 1999.