Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has backed the introduction of ‘no jab, no job’ policies by care home providers while stressing the need to demonstrate a “clear rationale”.
The Justice Secretary said that providers must demonstrate a “clear rationale” behind their actions, however, and warned against a “blanket approach”.
He said: “Future contracts and contracts of employment are indeed matters between employers and employees. I think that where such conditions are imposed there needs to be a very clear rationale for them.
“In a care home, a closed environment where there are vulnerable residents, I would argue there does seem to be an obvious rationale.
“I think it will depend very much on each setting and the particular context. That is why I don’t think it would be right to say there can be a blanket approach here because we need to go back to the fundamental fact that vaccines are not compulsory here in the UK.”
NHS Statistics as of 21 February show that just 71.5% of care home staff in elderly are homes in England have received their first jab with take up lowest in London (54.8%).
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history, and so far our heroic health and care staff have vaccinated over 20 million people.
“We have visited every eligible care home in England, offered vaccines to all staff and are doing everything we can to ensure all those who can, do so. All eligible staff, including domiciliary care workers, can book their vaccination using the national booking service.
“We have introduced measures specifically designed to increase uptake of the vaccine including working with local leaders in communities with lower take up to maximise vaccination numbers and save thousands of lives.”