Care staff ‘could be required’ to have jab

Staff in care homes for older people in England could be required to have a COVID-10 vaccine under plans being consulted on by the Government. 

Older people living in care homes are among the most vulnerable to the virus and experts on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advise that 80 per cent of staff and 90 per cent of residents need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against coronavirus outbreaks. 

Only 53 per cent of older adult homes in England are said to meet this threshold.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock MP said making vaccines a condition of employment is something many care homes have called for, with some providers having already introduced similar policies.

An LGA spokesperson said: “Councils understand the need to protect older residents of care homes and are working hard to maximise take up of COVID-19 vaccines. 

“There will be a range of views on these complex issues and a tricky balance to strike in terms of the rights of individual workers and the rights of residents. 

“Consideration will also have to be given to the impact of such a policy on recruitment and retention and the impact that would have on resident care. 

“There is also a question about why compulsion should apply in care homes for older adults but not to NHS and care staff working in any other setting. 

“We will be talking to our member councils and partners as we consider this issue further.”

The consultation (see www.gov.uk/government/consultations) closes on 21 May, with decisions expected this summer.

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