Sajid Javid issues stern warning to unjabbed care home workers
2nd October 2021

‘If you object, get another job’: Sajid Javid issues stern warning to unjabbed care home workers as he refuses to halt requirement for them to be fully vaccinated

  • Sajid Javid said care home workers in UK ‘should get vaccinated’ against Covid 
  • He is set to roll out plans to make vaccine a requirement for all care home staff 
  • Health unions warn policy could push out key staff ‘at time we can least afford it’

Care home workers who refuse to take the Covid vaccine should ‘get out and get another job’, health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

In a stern warning to vaccine refuseniks, Mr Javid said those working in care home with some of the most vulnerable people in the country ‘should get vaccinated’.  

He also brushed off appeals from providers to ‘pause’ the legal requirement for staff in England to be fully vaccinated by November 11, amid warnings some homes will be unable to cope if workers are forced to leave.

It comes after NHS workers hit out against ‘blunt instrument’ plans to make Covid jabs for staff compulsory by winter, with doctors and health service unions warning the policy could push out key staff ‘at a time we can least afford it’ and lead to discrimination.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said those working in care home with some of the most vulnerable people in the country ‘should get vaccinated’

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme 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.’

The health secretary is set to roll out plans to make Covid-19 vaccination a requirement for all members of NHS staff next month.

It is believed by ministers that mandatory jabs for all NHS workers would help restrict the spread of the virus within hospitals and could ‘save lives’.

However NHS staff fear the plans could spark a mass exodus of healthcare employees.

Nadra Ahmed, 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.

Ms Ahmed said care homes have already overcome significant resistance among staff to the vaccines.

In November last year, shortly before the vaccine programme launched, she said just 40 per cent of staff had said they would get it.

But 86 per cent of staff are now fully vaccinated, she said.

Mr Javid brushed off appeals from providers to ‘pause’ the legal requirement for staff in England to be fully vaccinated

The health secretary is set to roll out plans to make Covid-19 vaccination a requirement for all members of NHS staff this winter

Ministers believe that mandatory jabs for all NHS workers would help restrict the spread of the virus within hospitals. (Stock image)

She told Today: ‘We are not anti-vaccine. What we are saying is we needed a bit more time to get people where they needed to be.’ 

She said that without a delay to the deadline, the consequences for care homes and for the wider health sector will be severe.

‘The situation is chronic now with staffing and that deadline will just add to it,’ she said.

‘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.’

Last month president of the hospital doctors’ union the HCSA Dr Claudia Paoloni said using the ‘blunt instrument of compulsion rather than persuasion’ will put off hesitant key workers.

She said: ‘Our concern is that using the blunt instrument of compulsion rather than persuasion to ensure staff are vaccinated we could risk pushing out key NHS staff at a time when we can least afford it.

‘The government itself acknowledges the variance in vaccine take-up between employers ranging from 74 to 94 percent. We know that many hospitals have been extremely successful in persuading apprehensive staff to be vaccinated.

‘We encourage all NHS staff to be vaccinated but this is one part of a much bigger equation.

‘Covid vaccination rates in the NHS have been high for a large part of the pandemic, but experience shows we also need measures to limit transmission in the community, maintain tough infection control in hospitals and provide adequate levels of PPE and regular testing for staff.’   

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) expressed hostility at the plans too, and raised doubts that the plans would even increase uptake.

And the NHS Confederation — which represents NHS trusts across England — said ‘the focus must remain on increasing vaccine confidence’ rather than forcing staff to take jabs.

A member of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) — an independent body that advises the Government on vaccine policy — said making jabs mandatory would feel ‘like an admission of failure’. 

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