A third of frontline social care staff have not had the COVID-19 vaccine, Matt Hancock has said.
The news follows the government’s announcement that everyone in the top four priority groups has been offered a jab, with 15 million people getting a first dose.
The Health and Social Care Secretary told BBC Breakfast that the vaccine take-up was “around two-thirds” among social care staff and “around four-fifths” for NHS staff.
In a bid to encourage more social care staff to have the jab, he added: “It is the right thing to do.
“It is very important that you come forward and take up this vaccine. It’s important for you, it’s important for your patients and of course it’s important for the whole of society.”
A recent survey conducted by the National Care Forum revealed that “large gaps” remained in the majority of services between the number of staff vaccinated and today’s government target of 100%.
The survey, covering the period 1-31 January, found that 41% of care home staff still had to be vaccinated, with the shortfall even larger in extra care housing and supported living services (48%), home care services (55%) and community based services (60%).
As well as continuing problems with accessing vaccinations for some staff, providers continue to record a minority of staff declining jabs for medical and non-medical reasons.
Mark Cunningham, CEO, The Federation of Jewish Services, said 10% of his staff had currently declined vaccinations.
Brian James, Operations Manager, Keychange said issues remained with persuading some staff that taking the vaccine was a “mitigation of risk”.
The National Booking System is now open for all frontline social care staff who haven’t yet had their COVID-19 vaccinations.