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Covid vaccines ‘to become mandatory for care home staff in England’

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Care home workers could be required to have mandatory coronavirus vaccines under plans said to be being considered by ministers.

It is understood that the government will soon confirm they are pushing ahead with compulsory vaccination for most of the 1.5 million people working in social care in England.

The government will go ahead with the move despite warnings from employers that it could backfire, leaving staff hesitant on the jab to quit, according to the Guardian.

Under the plans those working with adults will have 16 weeks to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs.

It also reported that considerations are ongoing over whether to extend the measure to NHS staff.

Coronavirus vaccines being prepared at Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Coronavirus vaccines being prepared at Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Officials at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) did not deny the report.

Instead a DHSC spokeswoman said: “Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic and have already saved thousands of lives – with millions of health and care staff vaccinated.

“Our priority is to make sure people in care homes are protected and we launched the consultation to get views on whether and how the government might take forward a new requirement for adult care home providers, looking after older people, to only deploy staff who have had a Covid-19 vaccination or have an appropriate exemption.”

She added that the department’s response to the consultation will be published “in due course”.

Critics of the proposal have previously raised ethical queries and have warned that compulsion could harden opposition in those who are hesitant to be vaccinated.

The UK’s human rights watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has however concluded it is “reasonable” to legally require care home staff to be vaccinated.

But it did advise that safeguards should be included to minimise the risk of discrimination by including exemptions including for staff who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

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