Last night’s Radio 4 PM had a discussion with a mother and son who were dealing with an issue that many families will be trying to resolve this Christmas. This particular family had members who are particularly vulnerable to Covid and the son had chosen not to get vaccinated.
The compromise they reached was that the son would have a PCR test before mixing with the rest of the family.
It made me think about what I would do in these circumstances. I am about as Covid cautious as they come and my household is being very careful about who we mix with. We are following the Scottish Government’s advice and doing a lateral flow test before seeing other family members and they are doing the same. I’m lucky that we don’t have the vaccine issue as we’ve all been vaccinated and boostered to the max. In fact, the last member of our household got his booster on Monday, rather than the previously earliest appointment he could get which was 17th January thanks in part to Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP. The vaccination centre at Ingliston had been going to be dismantled to make way for a rave the weekend before last. Alex raised the problem with Nicola Sturgeon and Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and the rave was cancelled and the vaccine centre reinstated.
It took me seconds to come to the conclusion that if a member of my family had not had the vaccine for non medical reasons, I wouldn’t see them, no matter how much that hurt. I wouldn’t judge them because everybody has the right to make these decisions for themselves but I wouldn’t put the vulnerable people in my household at risk by mixing with people who were at greater risk of transmitting the virus. The exception would be if they had been advised not to have the vaccine on medical grounds and were shielding . I wouldn’t fall out with anyone about it, I’d just take myself out of the equation by staying at home and explain gently why I was doing so.
I then got to thinking about what would happen in people’s workplaces where you don’t have so much control over who you mix with. Employers aren’t allowed to keep records on who is vaccinated and who is not unless there is a legitimate reason to do so. Unison has information on this and your rights here. If you are worried, the onus is on your employer to do a risk assessment of your safety and allow you to work from home or redeploy you if possible. However, there will be many people out there who by the very nature of their job are not able to do either of those things.
To go back to the original dilemma, what would you do? I hope that everyone facing it is able to find a solution that works for them and keeps the family peace.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings