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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Bristol woman wants husband's carers to be vaccinated

Bristol woman wants husband's carers to be vaccinated

A woman whose husband needs regular visits from carers says it is "essential" frontline workers are vaccinated.

Melvin Cook has advanced brain disease meaning any infection could kill him.

He and wife Dorothy have been shielding since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but a recent fall has meant Mr Cook needs carers at their Bristol home.

There is currently no legal requirement for health workers to be vaccinated.

Mrs Cook said that since the start of the pandemic, their home in Knowle has been effectively sealed off.

'Nobody was allowed in'


"I wouldn't touch the post, I would leave it for 72 hours," she said.

"We literally closed the door up and nobody was allowed in, not even our family."

But Mr Cook had a fall in February and needed hospital treatment. When he came home, a critical care team was put in place to look after him.

Mrs Cook says caring for her husband is her "number one priority"
"Every two hours, two different carers came through our door," said Mrs Cook, something she described as "overwhelming".

She said she requested only carers who had been given a Covid-19 vaccination, but that has not been possible.

"My biggest fear was that they were going to bring Covid into our home," she said.

'Protect ourselves'


"We had to make a really hard choice. Do we not have the carers in and protect ourselves from Covid, or do we have the carers in because he was seriously ill?"

Mr Cook is currently in a specialist rehab unit and his wife is pushing for vaccinations to be mandatory for all frontline staff.

"If you choose to be a frontline worker, any frontline position, I think it's absolutely essential that you have a vaccination," she added.

The couple have been married for 47 years

David Smallacombe, chief executive officer at Care & Support West, which is not the Cook's care provider, said deciding whether or not to have the vaccination was a "very personal matter" and there were "lots of reasons" why people might be hesitant.

"As an organisation we don't have a position that says you must have a jab in order to work in social care," he said.

"It is possible that might become a mandatory position from central government, at which point things will change."

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