Consultation launched on staff vaccines in care homes

The government has launched a consultation on making coronavirus vaccination a condition of work for people who are deployed in care homes with older adult residents.

It is believed that making vaccines a condition of deployment would help to further protect older people living in care homes, who are among the most vulnerable to coronavirus, with some providers already implementing similar policies. The consultation will last for five-weeks.

Experts on the social care working group of SAGE advise 80m per cent of staff and 90 per cent of residents need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against outbreaks of the virus. Currently, only 53 per cent of older adult homes in England are meeting this threshold.

This means nearly half of all care homes with older adult residents, home to 150,000 vulnerable people, don’t meet SAGE’s recommended vaccination thresholds for care homes and staff.

Additionally, the staff vaccination rate is currently below 80 per cent in 89 local authority areas – more than half – and all 32 London boroughs. There are 27 local authority areas with a staff vaccination rate below 70 per cent.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Older people living in care homes are most at risk of suffering serious consequences of Covid-19 and we have seen the grave effects the virus has had on this group. 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. The vaccine is already preventing deaths and is our route out of this pandemic. We have a duty of care to those most vulnerable to Covid-19, so it is right we consider all options to keep people safe.”

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