DUBLIN: The HSE has ordered hundreds of health workers who had to stay away from work for health reasons during the COVID-19 Pandemic to remain at home. Despite being fully vaccinated in the health sector, the HSE has been reluctant to bring this group back to work.
More than 650 HSE staff stay home without work. The team includes doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and home carers. It also includes pregnant staff, those who have to attend work to complete the obligations of medical training schemes, and those with medical conditions, including diabetes.
The main problem is the current NPHET guidelines and the fact that the authorities are not yet ready to accept that the group mentioned above is free from the threat of COVID-19.
Although the vaccination of frontline health care workers has effectively been completed nationwide, HSE is not ready to make the appropriate decision on what to do with this group.
They are those who stay away from those with health issues and are able to continue working and, if necessary, can be reassigned to other roles. Some of them are still suffering from health problems despite being vaccinated. Therefore cannot be in contact with patients.
HSE maintains that no amendments be made to current regulations, despite the fact that some workers have expressed a willingness to return to work. All three approved vaccines are highly effective, although no one has yet found them to be 100% effective.
Another important factor is government guidance that the elderly in general should stay away. The government guideline is that people over the age of 70 should stay home as much as possible and avoid interacting with other people. Many of these former doctors and nurses had applied to assist in the distribution of the vaccine. But all of that was rejected in the name of public health guidance. For the same reason they refuse to go to the professional register or update the training. There were reports that some of these employees went ahead and volunteered despite receiving expert advice.
Currently, the number of COVID-19 infections among health care workers has dropped by 80%. Vaccination of this group began in late December. At present, less than five percent of health workers suffer from COVID-19. However, in the last two weeks, 373 cases have been confirmed to belong to health workers. Of these, 127 infections were found to be from health care centres.
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