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Mandatory requirement had ‘little’ effect on care home jab uptake

COVID-vaccine

Legislation requiring care home workers to be COVID-19 vaccinated has had “little” effect on uptake, according to a new report.

Figures published by the Daily Mail show that just 30,000 care home workers have come forward for their first jab since the legislation, which comes into force on 11 November, was announced in July.

Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, said making jabs compulsory had had a “little” effect on uptake.

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Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman of National Care Association, called on the government to “pause the button” on implementation.

“We call on government, once again, to press the pause button and alleviate the pressure which will help us to continue to support vulnerable members of our community,” Nadra said.

“The struggle will remain uphill, but the pause will encourage people to respond to the campaign they have launched and move us towards retaining staff at this critical time.”

James Sage, Employment law partner and Head of Health & Social Care at Royds Withy King, said the legislation could result in 60,000 employees leaving the sector in England.

“Data from October suggests that 10% of staff, or 60,000 employees, have not yet been double vaccinated,” James said. “That will of course change as the 11 November deadline draws closer, but care providers are facing the unthinkable prospect of losing in the region of 60,000 valuable workers from the sector.

“Many of these workers are highly experienced and will, put bluntly, be irreplaceable. Others will simply choose to leave to work in other industry sectors that are also facing staff shortages but which do not require mandatory vaccinations.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our message is clear: vaccines save lives and while staff and residents in care homes have been prioritised and the majority are now vaccinated, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to protect vulnerable people.

“Over 94% of care home staff have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 90% have had their second.

“We are working closely with local authorities and care home providers to ensure there will always be enough staff with the right skills to deliver high quality care.”

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The author Lee Peart

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