Care worker sacked for refusing Covid jab ‘didn’t want to risk chance of a baby’

A care home worker who refused the Covid jab has told how she had to decide between keeping her job or facing life without children.

Suzanne Wilson, 34, was sacked after turning down the vaccine over fears it might affect her IVF bid to be a mum.

She is now among 60,000 social care staff in England out of work under the Government’s ‘no-jab no-job’ rule.

Tearful Suzanne, who worked at the same home for 15 years, claims she had no objection to the vaccine but worried it might dash her baby dream.

“I understand the importance of the vaccine – my whole family is jabbed, and as soon as I have a baby, I’ll get it,” said Suzanne, who has been trying for a child for six years with her partner Stephen Shaw.

“But my doctor can’t say categorically it won’t stop me conceiving, so I’m not prepared to take the risk.

“They don’t think it affects fertility, but ‘don’t think’ isn’t good enough.

“For me, having a baby is more important than anything, so it’s come down to losing my job because of it.”

Suzanne is one of 60,000 social care staff out of work under the ‘no-jab, no-job’ rule
(
Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

Suzanne – who had worked at 55-bed Hebburn Court, near Gateshead, Tyneside, since the age of 19 – told how she was tested for Covid regularly and followed protection controls.

But now she is jobless and relying on 38-year-old tree surgeon Stephen’s wage as they await IVF through the NHS.

Suzanne said: “My managers have been very supportive but their hands are tied. Nothing could be done.”

Suzanne Wilson is gutted to have left her job as a carer
(
Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

It comes as care bosses fear a staffing catastrophe this winter with 120,000 job vacancies already crippling the sector.

Campaigners fear the Government’s strict rule could trigger a mass closure of care homes due to staffing shortages.

The Institute of Health and Social Care Management said a fifth of homes will lose five or more members of staff.

Suzanne, who is now hoping to find work in hospitality, said: “The impact is going to be huge. We are already in a care crisis.”

Suzanne had worked at the same care home for 15 years
(
Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

She sobbed as she recalled saying goodbye to residents and staff at her care home on Wednesday.

She said: “All I have done is cry all day. I’ve put my life into this home. Some residents were crying when I told them I was leaving.

“Family members who visit the homes don’t have to be double-jabbed yet I’m banished despite being head-to-toe in protective gear. Until someone can tell me the jab doesn’t affect fertility 100%, I just can’t do it.”

The Mirror is campaigning for a pay review and a register for care

Small studies suggest no difference in IVF embryo implantation rates between jabbed and unjabbed women. But a key cause of vaccine hesitancy among young women is the fear of damage to fertility. Suzanne said: “I’ve offered to take a back role, do testing every day and wear every bit of PPE available but it’s not good enough.

“Homes are interviewing for staff and no one’s turning up – and if you can earn more on an Aldi till, why would you?

“Working in care is demanding. You have to be devoted to it.”

Rachel Harrison, national officer for the GMB union, said: “Most NHS and care workers have been vaccinated. Of those who haven’t, most
of them have legitimate, often heartbreaking reasons why.

“Giving these workers a no-jab no-job ultimatum is heartless. If we want more people to take the vaccine, they should be educated and reassured, not bullied.”

The Sunday Mirror Stop The Care Crisis campaign calls for an end to the decimation of social care in Britain. We call on Boris Johnson and health secretary Sajid Javid to meet four pledges:

  • A review into pay now, bringing care into line with similar NHS roles.
  • A register for care in England as countries in the rest of the UK have.
  • Add care to the Shortage Occupation list, making it easier for migrants to fill vacancies.
  • End unpaid travel time for all
    care workers.

Meanwhile, around 70,000 NHS staff are said to be unvaccinated.

They face the sack under the same rule that has seen Suzanne lose her job unless they get jabbed before an April deadline.

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