Should the mandatory vaccine policy be halted amid staff shortages?

Gps given date to roll out vaccine

Should the mandatory vaccine policy be halted amid staff shortages?

On November 11 2021, a new policy was introduced in England meaning care home staff or those visiting a care home would have to prove that they are fully vaccinated unless they were exempt.

As of April 1 2022, the Covid vaccination will be made mandatory for all NHS staff in England.

Now concerns are being raised on whether vaccines should be made mandatory amid staffing shortages in the care sector.

As of 23 November, 93.8% of care home staff working in older adult care have been reported to have received their second dose of the Covid vaccine according to Government data.

For staff working in younger adult care home that percentage stands at 91.8%.

In domiciliary care 76.8% have had two doses, with 32.9% of staff working in other setting having both doses.

When the mandate was announced in November, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it was “absolutely right” that unvaccinated workers should leave their jobs.

He told Sky New he doesn’t “want to see anyone lose their job”, but insisted “this is about patient safety”.

He added: “”There will be absolutely no scapegoating, no singling out, no shaming, but working with colleagues to support them in every way that we can to help them make this positive decision so they can protect themselves, their colleagues and, most of all, their patients.”

However, care homes were reporting worker shortages before the madate was even announced.

Research conducted by the National Care Forum (NCF) , who owns 300 services and employs 14,000 staff, in early November stated that 3.5% of staff had left before the mandate came into force.

They expected to lose a further 4.4% after the vaccine mandate came into action, taking the total loss up to 7.9%.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), some councils have had to ask their vaccinated to staff to help out in local care homes preparing meals and helping with laundry due to the staff shortages.

A Wiltshire MP has asked the Prime Minister to reconsider the vaccine mandate now that Plan B measures are being eased in England.

Andrew Murrison criticsed the mandate, stating in Parliament: “Will [the Prime Minister] think againt before the redundancy letters start going out as of February 3?”

In response the Prime Minister said: “People do want their medical staff to be vaccinated.

“I do think it’s the responsibility of all health professionals to be vaccinated and I hope that’s a view he shares as well.”

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.