CARE home staff are set to be forced to get the Covid vaccine in order to protect their residents, ministers said today.
Matt Hancock launched a fresh consultation which may make it mandatory for workers in older care homes in England to get the jab.
At the moment just over half of older adult care homes are meeting targets to have 80 per cent of their staff vaccinated so they can keep the people they work with safe.
It means that 150,000 vulnerable people could be at risk as their homes don’t meet SAGE’s targets, ministers warned.
The vaccine is already being credited with saving more than 10,000 lives between December and March thanks to Britain’s speedy rollout.
But this will be the first time ministers will look at whether to force people to get the jab.
Although take-up is high, some ethnic groups and younger Brits have been less reluctant to get their vaccines.
And not everyone will have been offered a jab yet.
Matt Hancock said today: “Older people living in care homes are most at risk of suffering serious consequences of Covid-19 and we have seen the grave effects the virus has had on this group.
“Making vaccines a condition of deployment is something many care homes have called for, to help them provide greater protection for staff and residents in older people’s care homes and so save lives.
“The vaccine is already preventing deaths and is our route out of this pandemic. We have a duty of care to those most vulnerable to COVID-19, so it is right we consider all options to keep people safe.”
Those who have a medical condition or allergy and can provide proof will be exempt.
A final decision is expected over the summer.
More than 40 million doses of the vaccine have now been given out.
Ministers announced this week Britain had met its target to offer all over 50s a vaccine, all health and care staff too.
45s and over are now being invited for their vaccines, with one promised for all British adults by July.
But last week health experts in Britain recommended that it was preferable for adults under 30 with no health conditions to get an alternative to AstraZeneca when one was available.
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