While some plumbing companies have announced they will require operatives to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue working, the efficacy of this to protect householders has been described as unclear.
Stopcocks Women Plumbers founder Hattie Hasan believes that while the country is waiting for the vaccines to bring this crisis under control, it is especially important to consider the implications of the industry’s actions and choices. She is calling for business leaders to fully lead by taking a thought-out approach rather than giving knee-jerk reactions such as forcing vaccinations.
Hattie said: “We need to carefully consider the implications of our actions. Householders could be frightened into demanding vaccination certificates, and might tradespeople demand them from householders?”
Plumbers and heating engineers, who deal with urgent and emergency situations are highly aware that they are both personally at risk and could also pose a threat to householders, which is why they have been at the forefront of safer practices since the pandemic began, she said.
It was however, too early to know whether the vaccines prevent transmission through contact, or if they only protect those who have been vaccinated.
Therefore, medical guidelines in favour of safe working practices for householders and tradespeople are more helpful, especially since many people will not receive the second dose of vaccinations until the end of 2021.
Hattie added: “Many tradespeople we’ve spoken to are unhappy that ’no jab, no job’ requirements invade their civil liberties, and could be disruptive. Will tradespeople refuse to enter households where people haven’t been vaccinated?
“It could be a slippery slope. Virtually all the tradeswomen we’ve spoken to are very keen to be vaccinated but they’re also unhappy that some bosses are suggesting they ‘must’ receive vaccinations to remain working.”
However, most tradespeople do not fall within the age range to receive the vaccine for some time and insistence on vaccines will only serve to compound existing economic deprivation felt because of the current crisis.