Hundreds of thousands of social care staff in England yet to be vaccinated, figures suggest

Hundreds of thousands of social care staff in England have not yet received a coronavirus vaccine, figures suggest.

Some 59.2% of staff in care homes for adults aged under 65 and working for providers of home care registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, NHS England said.

For social care staff working in other settings in England, including non-registered providers, the figure is 57.5%.

The estimates are based on figures reported by 94% of registered younger adult care home providers, 81% of registered domiciliary care providers and 149 local authorities up to February 28.

This total may include some staff who cannot currently be vaccinated for valid medical reasons and staff whose vaccination status is currently unknown.

There may also be a time lag in vaccinations being reported, NHS England said.

This works out at 444,683 social care staff in these settings who have not been vaccinated or whose vaccination has not yet been reported.

Frontline health and social care staff were included in group two of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), with elderly care home residents and their carers in group one.

The Government said it had offered the vaccine to everyone in the top four groups by mid-February.

The latest weekly data also shows that 93.8% of eligible residents in older adult care homes in England had received the jab by February 28.

Residents are classed as eligible for the vaccine if they have not had Covid-19 in the previous 28 days.

The equivalent figure for staff of older care homes is 72.9%.

Some 57.9% of eligible staff of older care homes in London are estimated to have received their first jab.

London also lags behind other regions in England in terms of how many people aged 65 and over have received a vaccine.

Overall, an estimated 93.6% of people aged 65 and over in England have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Regional estimates range from 84.7% for London to 95.9% for south-west England.

Colin Angel, policy director at the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA), said: “The homecare workforce are dispersed, working out in the community, often some distance from their employers’ premises. This is very different to staff in residential care, who could be vaccinated at the same time as the residents of the care home where they work.”

He said that after a “slow start in parts of the country”, the opening of the national booking service for social care workers last month has “significantly improved the availability of places where homecare workers can get vaccinated”, adding rapid take-up is “far more successful” when care workers can get their jab at a time and place that fits around their working hours.

Mr Angel said: “There are a proportion of care workers, just as there are in the general population, who have been initially hesitant about receiving the vaccine. Good conversations between employers and their staff, and the enthusiasm for vaccination amongst their peers, is having a positive impact. “

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