The vaccination rate for staff at older care homes is below the recommended level set by scientists in more than half of England’s local authorities, analysis of NHS England data has revealed.
Data as of 18 April shows that 76 out of 149 LAs had not reached the 80% vaccination threshold for care home staff to provide a minimum level of protection against COVID-19, according to the PA news agency.
In 17 areas, less than 70% of staff had received a first jab. Lambeth, where 23 cases of a South African COVID variant have been recently reported in a care home, had the lowest uptake at 52.4%.
Nationally, 80.4% of staff and 94.6% of residents in care homes for older people had received their first jab.
In the social care sector as a whole, 1.17m out of 1.58m staff have received their first jab, leaving 417,989 staff (26.4%) of the total still to be vaccinated.
This includes 1,111 older care home staff who are not eligible because they had COVID-19 in the past 28 days, are working in a home with a current outbreak or cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
The government last week announced the launch of a five-week consultation on mandatory staff vaccination as a result of the failure in some areas to reach the designated threshold.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The vaccines are safe and effective and we want everyone to take up the offer of a jab when they’re called forward.
“Our vaccination programme is the biggest in NHS history, and so far our heroic health and care staff have helped administer more than 45 million vaccines.
“All health and social care staff in priority groups 1 to 9 can book a vaccine now and everyone should receive a second dose within 12 weeks. Any workers who haven’t yet had a first dose can log on to the National Booking Service to arrange their appointment now.”