Around a quarter of staff in care homes for older people not fully vaccinated – NHS England

Around one in four staff in older adult care homes in England eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine have not had both jabs, new figures suggest.

A total of 73.9% of eligible staff were reported to be fully vaccinated as of June 27, according to NHS England.

The proportion fell to 67.9% in London, suggesting around a third of staff in the capital have not had both doses.

Staff in older care homes are classed as eligible for the vaccine if they have not tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 28 days.

The Government announced last month that from October all people working in care homes registered with the Care Quality Commission must have two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, unless they have a medical exemption.

The move is subject to parliamentary approval and would come with a 16-week grace period.

People who undertake work at care homes would also be subject to this requirement, including hairdressers, tradespeople and inspectors.

The latest vaccination figures also show that the local authority area in England with the largest percentage of eligible staff in older adult care homes to have received two vaccine doses is Blackpool, with 89.3%.

By contrast, the local authority with the lowest percentage is Wandsworth in London, with 53.3% of eligible staff having both vaccine doses.

There may be a time lag between someone receiving a vaccine dose and it being recorded, NHS England said.

Care minister Helen Whatley, speaking when the Government announced its decision about care home staff vaccinations, said: “People working in care homes have played an incredibly important role throughout the pandemic caring for those most at risk from this terrible virus.

“The vaccine is working, with over 14,000 lives saved so far. It’s only right that we take every possible step to protect those most at risk now and in the long-term.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge everyone working in social care to take up the jab if they haven’t already, to protect those they care for, themselves and those they work alongside.”

But Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said mandatory vaccination for NHS staff was an “incredibly complex issue that raises many ethical, legal and practical questions”.

He added: “Vaccine hesitancy is not the same as flat-out refusal, and there could be several reasons why some staff may be unable or unwilling to be vaccinated.

“Recent research has highlighted that pressurising health and social care workers can have damaging effects, leading to an erosion of trust, worsening concerns about the vaccine and hardened stances on declining vaccination.”

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