BRITISH health authorities have warned all social workers employed in the care sector that they have to get vaccinated by the November 11 deadline and those not prepared to take the Covid-19 vaccination by then should be prepared to get another job.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in January 2020, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and its social care industry have both been hard hit. These two sectors have a high percentage of Nigerians working in them and the community has borne the full brunt of the virus as it has ravaged the UK.
Sajid Javid, the British health secretary, has brushed off appeals from providers to pause the legal requirement for staff in England to be fully vaccinated, amid warnings some homes will be unable to cope if workers are forced to leave. In an uncompromising message to staff, Mr Javid said they should not be working in the sector if they were not prepared to be vaccinated.
Mr Javid said: “If you want to work in a care home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country and if you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated, then get out and go and get another job. If you want to look after them, if you want to cook for them, if you want to feed them, if you want to put them to bed, then you should get vaccinated.
“If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care? If you think about your elderly relatives you might have in care homes and the idea that someone wants to look after them and they don’t want to take a perfectly safe and effective vaccine that has been approved by our regulators, been used all over the world because somehow they have got some objection to this vaccine, then really, honestly, they shouldn’t be in our care homes.
“They should go and get another job. I am very clear on that.’’
Nadra Ahmed, the chair of the National Care Association, has urged the government to put back the November 11, deadline for staff to have both jabs, saying it will have a knock-on effect on the NHS if homes have to reduce resident numbers. She said care homes have already overcome significant resistance among staff to the vaccines.
In November 2020, shortly before the vaccine programme was launched, about 40% of British care home staff had said they would get it. However, today, according to Ms Ahmed, 86% of staff are now fully vaccinated.
Ms Ahmed said: “We are not anti-vaccine but what we are saying is we need a bit more time to get people where they needed to be. The situation is chronic now with staffing and that deadline will just add to it.
“We will have providers who are no longer able to staff their services safely and that can only mean they will have to be handing back contracts. They will have to be looking at whether they can minimise the number of beds that they use to keep themselves open, which will have a direct effect on the NHS’s ability to discharge people out of hospital and into care settings.”