Care home workers who object to being vaccinated against Covid-19 should “get another job”, the UK’s Health Secretary has said.
Last month the British government said staff must be inoculated by 11 November 11.
The move was criticised by the trade union Unison and industry group the National Care Association.
The latter, which says 86 per cent of staff are fully vaccinated, has called for an extension to the deadline, citing fears of staff shortages.
But Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave an uncompromising message on the matter.
“If you want to work in a care home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country and if you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated, then get out and go and get another job,” he told the BBC.
“If you want to look after them, if you want to cook for them, if you want to feed them, if you want to put them to bed, then you should get vaccinated. If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care?
“If you think about your elderly relatives you might have in care homes, and the idea that someone wants to look after them and they don’t want to take a perfectly safe and effective vaccine that has been approved by our regulators, been used all over the world, because somehow they have got some objection to this vaccine, then really, honestly, they shouldn’t be in our care homes,” Mr Javid said.
Nadra Ahmed, chairwoman of the NCA, said the rule could have severe consequences if the deadline was not pushed back.
“We are not anti-vaccine. What we are saying is we needed a bit more time to get people where they needed to be. The situation is chronic now with staffing, and that deadline will just add to it,” she said.
“We will have providers who are no longer able to staff their services safely and that can only mean they will have to be handing back contracts.
“They will have to be looking at whether they can minimise the number of beds that they use to keep themselves open, which will have a direct effect on the NHS’s ability to discharge people out of hospital and into care settings.”