One in seven care home staff have not had virus jab
Around one in seven care home staff in Sunderland have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
As the Government launched a national consultation int whether a coronavirus vaccination should be a condition of employment in care homes, new NHS figures show that, in Sunderland 1,898 out of 2,220 eligible staff had received a first dose by April 11.
That means 15% have not had a jab – down from 23% four weeks previously.
The area is meeting recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) which state four in five staff need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against outbreaks.
Nationally 21% of staff have not been vaccinated.
The Government's plan would see older adult care home operators only able to use staff who have received a Covid-19 vaccination.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: "Older people living in care homes are most at risk of suffering serious consequences of COVID-19.
"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."
However, the Unison union said the Government should give staff more time, tackle misinformation and put extra resources into areas with low take-up.
General secretary Christina McAnea said: “Too heavy-handed an approach could backfire badly. Some staff may simply up and go, leaving a poorly paid sector already struggling with thousands and thousands of vacancies in a terrible state.
“That could damage the quality of care for the elderly and vulnerable, and no one wants that.”