Health and Social Care Minister Sajid Javid has told care home staff to get jabbed or find another jab ahead of the government’s deadline for mandatory vaccination.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Saturday, Mr Javid rejected calls from the sector to pause the mandatory jab requirement which comes into force on 11 November.
Mr Javid said: “If you work in a care home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country and if you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated, then get out and go and get another job.
“If you want to look after them (care home residents), if you want to cook for them, if you want to feed them, if you want to put them to bed, then you should get vaccinated.
“If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care?”
Nadra Ahmed, chair of the National Care Association (NCA), said she had been “stunned and angered” by the Minister’s comments, describing them as a “serious blow to the sector” that betrayed a “complete lack of understanding of social care provision and our value”.
“Let’s be clear, this is not about being anti-vaccinations, it is about giving people the time to be comfortable and confident with the prospect just like those in other healthcare settings,” Nadra said.
The NCA warned that up to 40,000 of care home staff could be forced to leave the workforce as a result of the legislation, with 7% (38,356) of workers yet to have their first dose.
The body said 12 local authorities face losing a tenth of their workforce with the worst affected being: Doncaster (18.6%, 740 employees); Birmingham (14.5%, 1,487 employees); and Nottingham (11.4%, 280 employees). Figures suggest that 12,000 staff have already left the workforce over the last six months.