Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Staff Must Be Abandoned: UK Social Care Boss

By Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
January 24, 2022Updated: January 24, 2022

Staff shortages are “paralysing” health and social care services in the UK and the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for frontline staff must be abandoned, a British social care boss has warned.

CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccination has been made a condition of employment in care homes in England since November 2021. The same rule will come into effect on April 1 for National Health Service (NHS) and other health care workers, meaning unvaccinated frontline health care workers will face redeployment or dismissal.

The Homecare Association said that the safety and wellbeing of older and disabled people will be “dangerously compromised” if between 15 and 20 percent of home care staff cannot work because they are unvaccinated.

Jane Townson, chief executive of the association, said that her organisation has “strongly supported” the vaccination drive, but has also “consistently argued that persuasion would likely be more successful than compulsion in achieving high vaccine uptake.”

She said the Homecare Association has “repeatedly stressed the need to balance the mitigated risk of infection with the risk of older and disabled people going without vital care at home.”

In pressing ahead with the vaccine mandate, she said, the government has “seriously misjudged this balance of risk.”

The association is calling for the government to withdraw the regulations before employers start serving notice on unvaccinated employees.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “It remains the case that we believe that mandatory vaccination is the right approach and there are no plans to change the implementation dates for this policy.”

Meanwhile, the British Medical Association (BMA) has called for an “urgent impact assessment” on how the policy will affect staffing numbers.

A BMA spokesman said, “With more than 99,000 vacancies in the NHS in England alone, to lose more than 50,000 further staff who are yet to receive their first vaccine would be disastrous and would have a devastating effect on patient care when the health service is under the most intense pressure it’s been in modern history.”

“We urgently need to see an updated impact assessment on how this policy will affect staffing numbers,” he said, adding: “Ministers must not pursue a policy that risks leaving services untenable, and putting patients at risk.”

The latest figures from NHS England, covering up to Jan. 16, suggest that 13.1 percent of domiciliary care staff in registered settings (more than 53,000 staff) and 5 percent of NHS staff (more than 80,000) have not had their first dose.

Some 18.9 percent (77,080 staff) have been recorded as not having received their second dose.

Lily Zhou and PA Media contributed to this report.