Covid vaccinations - frequently asked questions
As we continue to live with the risks and impacts of Covid, Stonewater’s first priority is the safety and health of our customers and colleagues.
We are encouraging everyone to have the vaccine when offered the opportunity and while we recognise it’s a matter of individual choice, we want everyone to be in the best position to make an informed decision. We recognise that customers from BAME communities may have particular barriers or concerns and additional information - including vaccine resources in different languages - can be found here. Please take some time to find out the facts from official and reliable sources. A good place to start reading is the NHS guide.
As the vaccine roll out gathers pace, we will start asking customers whether they are vaccinated or not. This is particularly relevant when you need to see someone face to face or where services are being delivered in your home. We hope the Frequently Asked Questions below help you understand why we’re interested in this information.
Why does Stonewater want to know whether I’ve had the vaccine?
Having a clear picture of how many customers have been vaccinated, and in what areas, will ultimately help us keep everyone safe and well. We may use the information to assess risk, shape and plan service delivery, or influence decisions about physical interaction where needed. This may not seem immediately relevant right now, while the vaccine programme is still in the early stages and numbers are relatively small, but it’s the Government’s intention to offer everyone the vaccine over time and we believe this will become increasingly important in many aspects of our lives.
The more accurate our information, the better we can manage risk and shape future plans. We believe this will increase the safety of customers and our colleagues, helping reduce Covid transmission and the risk of infection.
The long-standing Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 obliges employers to take reasonable steps to reduce any workplace risks – and Covid is a risk which we will need to manage for the foreseeable future. We believe it’s therefore the right thing to do, to develop an approach which helps keep our customers, colleagues, and contractors as safe as possible.
How will the information be recorded?
We will record the information on our housing management system, under the ‘special information’ category and in line with GDPR regulations. It will be kept confidential and Stonewater will not disclose or share a customer’s vaccination status to anyone without their consent.
Do I have to tell you?
No, you don’t have to tell us, sharing the information is voluntary - but the more accurate our information is, the more useful it will be in terms of managing risk and shaping services. We believe it’s in everyone’s interests to do everything possible to reduce the risks of transmission.
Will my services change depending on whether I’m vaccinated or not?
No, we don’t currently intend any differentiation in services based on vaccination status. However, all businesses will increasingly need to think about risk assessments and additional measures to account for customers not being vaccinated. This will have greater importance in certain settings (such as those with more elderly or vulnerable people) and may, in future, become subject to more specific guidance or legislation. Our approach is based on the current situation and we’ll continue to review our thinking, in line with emerging information, Government policy and best practice as things progress. We anticipate a time when information related to vaccination status may be used to inform and influence service design and delivery.
Stonewater is committed to ensuring our approach to vaccine status will be applied in a non-discriminatory, fair and consistent way.
Can you guarantee that anyone entering my home from Stonewater will be vaccinated themselves?
We are actively encouraging all our colleagues to have a vaccination when offered. Many of our frontline and key worker teams are in the Government’s priority groups and we’re doing all we can to ensure those working with more elderly or vulnerable customers are vaccinated. We’re also actively encouraging our repairs and maintenance contractors to ensure their own employees get the vaccine. We believe this is the responsible thing to do and while it doesn’t materially affect current contracts, it will certainly become an increasing consideration in future.
However, it is also critical that we continue with other risk mitigation (such as PPE, physical distancing and safe systems of working) and we are committed to this to ensure customer safety and wellbeing remains a top priority.
Do I have to wait to be asked or can I just call up and tell you when I’m vaccinated?
We’d very much welcome you volunteering the information at any time and you can do this by calling our Customer Services Centre on 01202 319 119.