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Care providers are concerned that mandatory Covid-19 vaccines for all staff in care homes for older people will exacerbate existing staffing issues.
Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed today (16 June) that coronavirus vaccinations will be made compulsory, with care home employees given 16 weeks to get the jab or face being redeployed away from frontline care. Consultations are also proposed for extending mandatory vaccines to NHS staff.
Many care homes already face significant difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, and fear that requiring employees to be vaccinated could make this worse.
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, which represents care homes in Yorkshire, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that he was “frightened that this is going to put more people off coming into social care, and that’s going to be difficult”.
"It feels like we're fighting two battles, Covid-19… but also the government on many things, who don't seem to understand social care,” he added.
Professor Martin Green, CEO of sector body Care England, said many issues remained unclear and that greater support would be needed.
“If regulation is the vehicle of choice as we have been led to believe in the press today, it is essential for the issues associated with mandating the vaccine for adult social care staff to be comprehensively addressed prior to its introduction. There must be central guidance, funding and leadership in helping to support adult social care providers in implementing the regulation. In other words, there must appropriate infrastructure support,” he said.
“There are many issues that are unclear, not least who are deemed frontline staff or indeed what vaccinated means, for example will this be a requirement