A SENIOR nurse working at a care home in Gwent says she feels residents and staff are “being treated as third class citizens” over the vaccine rollout.

Health minister Vaughan Gething has said Wales aims to vaccinate staff and residents at every care home by the end of January, but Dorothy Clark – an experienced night nurse working in Pontypool – believes staff and residents at the home are being unfairly denied the vaccine.

The Welsh Government says risk assessments are carried out at care homes that have had positive Covid-19 cases before vaccinations are administered, and Mrs Clark says there has been one positive result at the home she works at - which she has been asked not to identify - in the last two weeks.

“We’ve had one risk assessment since the start of the vaccine rollout,” she said. “In the last few days an infection control nurse came in.

Free Press Series: Dorothy Clark

Dorothy Clark

“But other than that we kept being told on the phone that we couldn’t have the vaccinations because we had positive cases.

“In the last two weeks we’ve had one positive case – an elderly gentleman who always stays in his room, and all the staff that look after him tested negative. He’s obviously had no visitors – so how could he be positive? We believe it to be a false positive, but we couldn’t get him tested again.

“It’s very upsetting and frustrating, because these little things are stopping all of us getting vaccines we desperately need.”


Mrs Clarke says the home has since been told every staff member and resident must provide two negative test results before vaccinations can be administered. The Welsh Government did not confirm or deny that to be the case.

“We were first told one negative result for everyone would do, and now that’s changed to two,” she said. “As if it’s not hard and upsetting enough having to look after these residents who are low because they can’t see their families, we’re constantly having to deal with changing goalposts.”

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “Where a care home has positive cases within the last 20 days the health board will risk assess the situation to help determine whether it is safe for residents, staff and vaccinators to administer vaccinations.

“Where people who are testing positive are able to be isolated within the home and residents are able to be tested safely, vaccinations may take place.”

Mrs Clarke added: “Well if it is the case that we can just isolate the positive patient and get everyone vaccinated then it should have been done by now, because it’s so easy to isolate the positive case – we’ve already done it very effectively.

“We’ve not even been told we’re close to having vaccinations. I’d be shocked if we’re getting these vaccines any time soon.

“I’ve been at the home for 18 years and the residents and staff are like family to me. We fight every day to keep our vulnerable people safe, and our lack of positive cases since March reflect that work.

“I think it’s a shame we’re not getting the same effort from the people in charge of this vaccine rollout.”

By Monday the Aneurin Bevan health board said residents from 72 of the 95 care homes in the region had been vaccinated.

The health board was contacted for comment, but said it was a matter for the Welsh Government.