Compulsory Covid vaccinations for care home workers welcomed by council chiefs

Council chiefs have welcomed news that the Covid-19 vaccine will be made mandatory for all care home workers in England – with staff in the region urged to get their jab as soon as possible to protect themselves and the people they care for.

Anyone whose duties require them to enter an adult care home will also have to be vaccinated against coronavirus, unless they are medically exempt.

A 16-week grace period began on July 22 – which means workers have until September 16 to get their first dose of the vaccine, so they can be fully vaccinated by the time regulations come into the force on November 11.

People living in care homes are particularly vulnerable to severe illness and death from Covid-19 – and the Government said that making vaccination a condition of deployment in care homes will "help ensure that residents at high risk from Covid-19, either due to their age, underlying health conditions, or disability, are better protected against the virus".

Some 86 per cent of care home staff in Wolverhampton have been vaccinated, according to latest figures. The remainder have just over seven weeks in which to get their first jab to ensure they are able to have the second by November 11. Meanwhile, some 94 per cent of residents in Wolverhampton are vaccinated.

Councillor Linda Leach, Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for adult services, said: "Care homes up and down the country have been hit particularly hard by Covid-19 and, despite the fantastic efforts of staff to keep their residents safe, around 7,000 care homes in England have sadly registered at least one death related to coronavirus.

"We cannot lose sight of the fact that, despite the lifting of restrictions recently, the virus hasn't gone away. Nearly 1,000 people in Wolverhampton tested positive for Covid-19 last week alone – and we need to do all we can to stop it from getting into our care homes.

"The vaccine is the best protection people can get from becoming seriously ill with Covid-19. It also helps to cut transmission of the virus from one person to another.

“It’s brilliant news that nearly nine in 10 care home staff in Wolverhampton have already had their vaccine, and I would encourage the remainder – and anyone else who is required to go into a care home for work purposes – to get theirs as soon as possible if they can.

“While taking up the offer of vaccination may, for whatever reason, be a difficult decision for a small number of individuals, it is important to remember that it not only protects you but also your colleagues and the people you care for who are most vulnerable to this deadly virus."

Councillor Rose Martin, portfolio holder for adult social care at Walsall Council, said: “I would like to thank our care providers that have, in very difficult times, worked hard to meet the challenges faced and done all they can to support the people they care for. We appreciate the valuable contribution that they make to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in Walsall.

"The vaccine is the best protection people can get from becoming seriously ill with Covid-19. It also helps to cut transmission of the virus from one person to another. This means it is especially important to get the vaccine if you care for someone.

“I encourage care home staff and anyone else required to go into a care home for work that hasn’t had the vaccination to do so as soon as possible to protect yourself and those around you. Making sure you have the second dose which will give you and those you care for the maximum protection."

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, Dudley Council's cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “The decision to make it mandatory for all care staff to be vaccinated against coronavirus was taken by the Government.

"We are pleased with the number of care home staff in the borough who have already had the vaccine and we strongly believe it is in the best interests of staff and residents for everyone within a home to be vaccinated. We will continue to work in partnership with all social care agencies in the borough to maximise uptake of the vaccine by staff.

"We are extremely grateful for the continued efforts of all care providers, care workers and carers for the care and support they have provided selflessly throughout the pandemic.”

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