COVID vaccinations are set to become compulsory for all care home staff in England, according to new reports.
People who are working in care homes will be required to get the coronavirus jab within 16 weeks.
Those who turn down the vaccine may not be permitted to work in these settings and could risk being moved to a different department or losing their role entirely.
The government – which is expected to officially announce the introduction of compulsory jabs later this week – is also considering mandatory vaccines for wider NHS staff, according to The Guardian.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is preparing to launch consultations on making both COVID and flu vaccines a requirement across health care sector employees.
A DHSC spokeswoman told the BBC: “Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic and have already saved thousands of lives – with millions of health and care staff vaccinated.
“Our priority is to make sure people in care homes are protected, and we launched the consultation to get views on whether and how the government might take forward a new requirement for adult care home providers, looking after older people, to only deploy staff who have had a COVID-19 vaccination or have an appropriate exemption.”
However, one NHS boss issued a warning via The Guardian that making vaccines compulsory will create “direct confrontation”.
“The government hasn’t thought through the consequences of this,” they added.
“Hospital trusts could end up having to suspend or even dismiss members of staff who continue to refuse to be vaccinated against COVID in defiance of a policy requiring them to get jabbed.”
Over 41 million people in the UK have received their first COVID jab so far, whilst more than 30 million have received a second dose.
A more infectious ‘Delta’ variant has however caused cases to rise sharply once again – with Prime Minister Boris Johnson delaying the lifting of the lockdown by four weeks to allow more people to be vaccinated in the “race against the virus”.
The PM said the decision was made so the NHS had extra time to “give crucial jabs into the arms [of those] who need them.”
“I think it’s sensible to wait just a little longer,” he added.
“Now is the time to ease off the accelerator. By being cautious now we have the chance to save lives.”
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