Covid-19 vaccines are set to become mandatory for those who work in care homes, in a new unpredicted move by the government.Advertisement
Those who work in care homes in Preston and the rest of England are expected to be given 16 weeks to have the jab, or face being shifted away from front-line care or even possibly losing their job.
Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that the ‘vast majority of staff in care homes’ were vaccinated, and that he believed it was a ‘sensible and reasonable step.’
Read more: Royal Preston Hospital suspend adult inpatient visiting as Covid cases continue to rise
Care organisations have warned that compulsory vaccinations could cause significant difficulties in a sector that already struggles to recruit enough people.
Low uptake among care home staff was a big concern when the vaccine programme was launched – similar issues are seen with the annual flu jab.
Efforts have been made to convince staff of the need to get vaccinated. There have been advertising campaigns targeting them, webinars held by health leaders and repeat visits made to homes by vaccination teams.
Read more: Coronavirus vaccine volunteers desperately needed at Preston and South Ribble sites
There are plenty of places where there has been good uptake, and across Lancashire it is thought that more than 83 per cent of care workers are already vaccinated.
The requirement will also apply to volunteers at care homes and those visiting for other work, such as healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians.
Workers who can prove they are medically exempt from getting the vaccine will not be affected.
There will be also be exemptions for visiting family and friends, under 18s, emergency services and people undertaking urgent maintenance work.
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
Do you think the coronavirus vaccine should be mandatory for those working in care homes? Let us know in the comments below.