Health secretary will not postpone 11 November deadline for staff in England to be fully vaccinated against Covid
Care workers in England should “get out and get another job” if they don’t want to get vaccinated, the health secretary, Sajiv Javid, has said. Senior figures in the care industry have begun to raise concerns that the deadline for workers to be fully vaccinated is too soon and could lead to damaging staff shortag. But Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If you 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 was responding to questions over whether he would be prepared to pause the deadline of 11 November by which time care workers will have to have had both jabs if they want to work in a Care Quality Commission-registered care home in England. Nadra Ahmed, the chair of the National Care Association, told the Today programme the deadline needed to be more flexible. She said: “We are not anti-vaccine. What we are saying is we needed a bit more time to get people where they needed to be.” Without an extension to the deadline, the consequences for care homes and for the wider health sector will be severe, she said. “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.
But Javid said there could be no shifting of the demand, saying: “If you want to look after them [care home residents], 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?” The National Care Association said 86% of staff were fully vaccinated, double the number of staff who originally said they would be prepared to get the jab.