Careworker "forced to quit" the job he loved over Covid vaccine

Unvaccinated carer, James Kirkham, left his role at a Preston care home when it became law for all staff to be double-jabbed

By Lucinda Herbert
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 10:23 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 12:46 pm

James Kirkham felt proud to be a carer, and was sad to say goodbye to the residents he considered friends.

The Preston man left his job at Care In Mind, a home that supports young adults with complex mental health needs, when it became law for all care staff to be double-jabbed.

The new law means that from 11 November, any CQC regulated care home would face prosecution if they employ unvaccinated workers in front line roles.

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James Kirkham, unvaccinated careworker fired from his job

A long battle with depression and suicidal thoughts had led James, 31, to work in care.

“I know how it feels to be in those dark places and I wanted to be there for people who are struggling. They’re amazing people and it was rewarding to help see the value in life again after so much trauma.”

It was a sad moment when James worked his last day at Care In Mind on 10 November. He had been there 5 months. James researched the vaccine and said that he was worried about possible long term side effects, as not enough research had been done for it to be safe.

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“I completely appreciate that everyone should be safe and cared for, but I also believe it should be my choice if I want to be vaccinated. It’s not my employer’s fault as the standards came in from CQC. They didn’t want me to go. I was asked to reconsider, but they were completely understanding of my views.”

He starts a new job in security in December, but fears many carers won’t be so lucky. “Other workers have kids to feed and this job is all they know, so even if they didn’t want the vaccine, they felt they had no choice.”

These people have spent their lives doing everything to help others and then this is how they are treated. All for less than £10 an hour. It’s disgusting.

"We were understaffed as it was. It's hard to get good carers who actually care because it's so underpaid. I had to work overtime and as a consequence I missed my mates funeral,"

Hayley Wilson, who works at Haddon Court Rest Home in Blackpool, said on Facebook: “We were forced to work with no jabs and now forced to get jabs. It’s really sad that elderly people are going to suffer.”

Ingrid Saul, a retired nurse, said on Facebook: “Every care worker should be allowed to choose. Instead these carers who worked through the pandemic unvaccinated, without any hesitation, are being thrown on the scrap heap.”