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More than 400,000 social care staff not vaccinated, figures suggest

Jemma Crew, Ian Jones and Joe Gammie, PA
·3-min read

More than 400,000 members of England’s adult social care workforce have not received a coronavirus vaccine, figures suggest.

Some 80.4% of eligible staff working at older adult care homes had received the jab by April 18, NHS England said.

A total of 72.3% of staff working in independent Care Quality Commission-registered younger adult care homes and domiciliary care providers have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

For social care staff working in other settings in England, including non-registered providers, the figure was 69.4%.

Overall, around 1.17 million out of 1.58 million social care staff in these settings have received a first dose, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

This leaves 417,989 social care staff (26.4% of the total) who have not been vaccinated or whose vaccination has not yet been reported.

This includes 1,111 older adult care home staff who are not eligible because they have had Covid-19 in the past 28 days, and may include a small number who work at a home currently in outbreak and therefore cannot be visited.

It may also include staff who cannot be vaccinated for valid medical reasons and staff whose vaccination status is currently unknown, while NHS England said there may be a time lag in vaccinations being reported.

Of the 417,989 total, 43% work in other settings including non-registered providers.

Elderly care home residents and their carers and all frontline health and social care staff were included in the first two priority groups when the vaccine rollout started in early December.

By mid-February, the Government said it had offered jabs to everyone in the top four groups.

The figures came as the Government opened a public consultation on a proposal for staff to be required to get a jab as a condition of deployment to protect elderly residents.

The figures show that the vaccination rate for staff at older adult care homes is below the level recommended by scientists advising the Government in more than half of England’s local authorities.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) says 80% of care home staff and 90% of residents need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against Covid-19 outbreaks.

Figures published show that 76 out of 149 local authorities have not reached this threshold for employees.

In 17 areas, less than 70% of staff have had a first jab.

Lambeth in south London had the lowest uptake at 52.4%.

The data also shows that 94.6% of eligible residents in older adult care homes in England had received the jab by April 18.

Residents are classed as eligible for the vaccine if they have not had Covid-19 in the previous 28 days.

The figure for residents at younger adult care homes was 89.1%.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The vaccines are safe and effective and we want everyone to take up the offer of a jab when they’re called forward.

“Our vaccination programme is the biggest in NHS history, and so far our heroic health and care staff have helped administer more than 45 million vaccines.

“All health and social care staff can book a vaccine now and everyone should receive a second dose within 12 weeks.

“Any workers who haven’t yet had a first dose can log on to the National Booking Service to arrange their appointment now.”