With care home workers and associated professions having to be doubled vaccinated against Covid-19 by law come November, a number of questions about the jab have been answered that are relevant to everyone.

The Government has ruled that all care home workers and associated contractors, such as hairdressers that go into homes, must have received two doses of the vaccine by November 11.

Now Dr Whitney Curry, Public Health Practitioner for Cornwall Council, has addressed many of the concerns and questions that have been raised over the vaccine – including some hard-hitting issues over ethics, fears it could affect fertility and whether it will change a person's DNA.

One of the issues she responds to is why care home staff have been targeted in this way by the Government.

Dr Curry said: "One of the main issues we have seen in this pandemic is the care sector were hit the hardest in terms of severe illness and mortality from Covid-19, so that's care home residents especially, who are older but also have many other health issues that make them more at risk for these severe outcomes.

"This requirement to have care home staff and associated contractors double jabbed is really meant to help you as staff by preventing severe illness and mortality, and also an attempt those residents in those settings to ensure that they aren't at higher risk of those severe complications."

In terms of exemptions to this new requirement, she said there was currently no specific detail about this and it was up to people to self-declare, in the same way as a Covid vaccination pass for travelling, but she expected more detail in the next few weeks – in particular confirmation on whether ethical grounds will count as an exemption.

In terms of ethics relating to how the vaccine was produced, Dr Curry addressed the thinking that aborted foetuses had been used in the development and manufacturer of the vaccines.

She said it was common practice in developing vaccines to something called 'foetal cell lines'. In the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines there is one foetal cell-line that came from an abortion in The Netherlands in 1973. The cells were grown further and further over a period of time, as is common practice in other branches of medicine such as in cancer research, meaning the cells used in the vaccine are not from the specific foetus, but grown in a laboratory over a long time.

One common fear is could the vaccine affect fertility. Dr Curry said it was important to understand the science of the vaccine, in that the chemicals do not stay in a person's body but instead go through the lymph glands, so that the body can recognise when to produce an immune response, and then get flushed out in a couple of days.


Concerns over whether the Covid jab will affect fertility have been addressed

Concerns over whether the Covid jab will affect fertility have been addressed


"It doesn't rewrite any sort of DNA and it doesn't go to any parts of your body effectively that would cause any fertility issues.

"It's not something that is a risk in terms of fertility. If you want to become pregnant in the near future and we have a pandemic going on the risks to mum and baby are much higher if they contract Covid.

"If you do get the vaccine you're much more protected, risks to baby are much, much lower in terms of any sort of pre-term birth or complications, which we have seen in the past year and a half."

Other questions answered include long-term effects of the vaccine, whether people can choose not to have the AstraZeneca vaccine specifically, particularly care home workers who may have had their first jab early on, before concerns over a link with blood clots being a side effect was raised, and who may not have gone for their second one.

She said the risk of serious complications on the second jab was "substantially reduced" and that the risk of getting a blood clot from Covid-19 was "much higher", and those who had not received any jab to date had the option of the Pfizer vaccine.