Sajid Javid Says It’s “Absolutely Right” For Unvaccinated Staff To Leave Care Home Jobs
Care home staff will be refused entry to their work from Thursday if they are not fully vaccinated (Alamy)
The health secretary has defended making Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all care home staff from tomorrow, saying it is “all about patient safety”.
Sajid Javid said he didn’t want to see people leave the profession but said it is “absolutely the right decision” to insist that they have to if they are unwilling to get a Covid vaccine.
In August the government announced anyone working or volunteering in a care home will need to be double jabbed against Covid-19, unless they have a medical exemption or there is an emergency, from 11 November.
A day before the deadline Javid told the BBC “we don’t anticipate” big staffing issues as a result of the policy, although there has been speculationt that the move could leave a sector already struggling to fill roles in even more difficulty.
But Javid continued to strongly defended the plans this morning, and accepted that this may lead to some people leaving the sector.
“I don’t want to see anyone have to leave, but if by leaving our care homes are safer for the people being cared for I think that is absolutely the right decision,” he said.
But Christina McAnea, general secretary of the UNISON union, which represents care home workers, believed “the staffing crisis will become a catastrophe for a sector already on its knees”. McAnea even suggested some care homes may have to close.
“Forcing the vaccine on care staff is an own goal by the government,” she added.
Yesterday Javid announced the policy was being extended to all frontline NHS staff in England, who will need to be fully vaccinated or face being moved away from frontline care by April next year.
A government impact statement suggested 73,000 personnel in England could refuse to be jabbed under the policy, 4.9% of the workforce.
The health secretary told Sky News he doesn't "want to see anyone lose their job”, but insisted "this is about patient safety".
He continued: "We know that the vaccines work, we also know that patients in hospital, in care, these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and if they are exposed to Covid it could be fatal, and I think it's our duty to make sure that they are as safe as they can be.
”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.”
He pointed to France, which has brought in a similar policy, and has seen the number of health care staff getting vaccinated going from 60% to 99%.
Dr Maggie Wearmouth, who sits on the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation, said legislating mandatory vaccines for frontline health and care workers was a "blunt instrument”, but told LBC she was “broadly in favour” of the move.
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