Covid: No jab, no job? Ministers 'to make vaccine mandatory for care home workers'

The government are reportedly set to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for care home workers

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Kirsty Gallacher and Nana Akua came to blows over the government's reported plans to make Covid vaccines mandatory for care home workers.

The government has held a consultation into the controversial proposal as a measure to protect the most vulnerable in society.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) did not rule out the plans first reported by the Guardian, adding ministers will approve the measures for social care workers in England.

Dr Sarah Watton draws the BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine before injecting into the arm of an elderly resident at Bowbrook House care home in Shrewsbury. Picture date: Wednesday January 20, 2021.
Dr Sarah Watton draws the BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine before injecting into the arm of an elderly resident at Bowbrook House care home in Shrewsbury. Picture date: Wednesday January 20, 2021.

Under the plans, staff working with adults will be given 16 weeks to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs, according to the newspaper.

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”. Multiple care groups and unions have raised concerns about mandatory vaccination. Critics of the proposal have raised ethical queries and have warned that compulsion could harden opposition in those who are hesitant to be vaccinated.

Nana and Kirsty clashed on 'no jab, no jobs' plans reportedly being drawn up by the government.
Nana and Kirsty clashed on 'no jab, no jobs' plans reportedly being drawn up by the government.

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. Considerations are ongoing over whether to extend the measure to NHS staff.

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