Care Homes Forcing Staff To Have Covid Jab Is ‘Discriminatory’, No.10 Suggests

One in three care home workers has not been vaccinated but Downing Street suggests mandating immunisation would be “wrong”.

Care homes forcing staff to have coronavirus vaccinations or face the sack would be “discriminatory”, Downing Street has suggested.

No.10 highlighted the words of vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi last week, who said employers requiring workers to have Covid jabs would be the “wrong thing to do”.

But it comes amid concerns that vulnerable elderly residents could be at risk because one in three care home staff members has not been vaccinated.

Some care home bosses are now demanding that staff have the jab or risk the sack, the Mail on Sunday reported.

But Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson suggested this was the wrong approach.

Under repeated questioning about the issue, they pointed to the words of Zahawi, who said last week: “To start mandating and being discriminatory because you end up having people lose their jobs, currently they are a little bit hesitant about having the vaccine, would be the wrong thing to do.”

Asked to be clear whether it would be “the wrong thing to do” for a care home employer to bar staff from working because they had not been vaccinated, the spokesperson told reporters: “I’m pointing to the vaccine minister’s words from last week when he said that would be discriminatory.

“But again our focus as it has been throughout the vaccination programme is to encourage people to come forward and take the vaccine.”

Care home staff receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine at Bradley Manor residential care home in Belfast
Care home staff receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine at Bradley Manor residential care home in Belfast
Liam McBurney - PA Images via Getty Images

The spokesperson added: “We’ve been clear that vaccines are not mandatory, but again I think the important thing for us to do is continue to ensure that we promote the vaccine and to encourage people to come forward and take it.”

It came after health secretary Matt Hancock revealed that “around two thirds” of social care workers have been jabbed alongside “four fifths” of NHS staff.

In care home residents, Hancock said that among those eligible to be vaccinated the percentage given a jab was “over 90%”.

All care home residents and staff were to be offered a first dose of the vaccine by today, according to the government’s target.

In a bid to encourage more social care staff to have the jab, Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is the right thing to do. It is very important that you come forward and take up this vaccine.

“It’s important for you, it’s important for your patients and of course it’s important for the whole of society.”


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