Hundreds of county care home staff face losing their jobs due to jab deadline
Hundreds of care home staff in Leicestershire face being legally prevented from working if they fail to get their second coronavirus vaccine dose by Thursday.
The government has said that all employees in care homes will need to be fully vaccinated by law by November 11 but across the county this currently only represents 83 per cent of staff.
Latest figures show 92 per cent of people working in the sector in Leicestershire have now had at least a first jab.
And with the eight-week gap stipulated between safely having both doses, those who have not had the first dose will need to have it by September 16 to leave enough time to get their second jab by the November 11 deadline.
This means that 500 care home employees in the county still require vaccination by next Thursday if they are to retain their jobs.
Leicestershire’s director of public health, Mike Sandys, said: “We are pleased to see that so many care workers in the county have taken up the option of getting fully vaccinated already.
“However, we are fast approaching the point where those who have not yet got their first dose could run out of time to get the second.
“Vaccination is the best defence against the virus both for the people they are looking after and themselves.
“With case rates on the rise, it makes sense for everyone to get vaccinated but the coming change in the law means it’s very pressing for care staff.”
There have been concerns nationally about vaccine hesitancy among care workers ahead of the deadline.
It is feared some staff may choose not to have a jab and opt to find work in another industry, potentially leaving some homes short of workers.
The county council says it is working with homes to increase staff confidence in the vaccine.
It has been helping arrange question and answer sessions, promoting convenient vaccine appointments and assisting managers in communicating with their staff.
County Hall is also working closely with homes to help them with recruitment and managing potential staff shortages.
Cabinet lead member for adult social care councillor Christine Radford said: “Our care workers have been doing a tremendous job throughout the pandemic in the most challenging circumstances.
“I’m grateful for all their efforts.
“It’s encouraging to see how many of them have been getting vaccinated as the new legislation approaches and I’d like to remind people of the time scales involved so they can be ready for the changes the government requires.”
The new legislation will also apply to those coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, taxi drivers and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors, unless they have a medical exemption.
Vaccinations can be booked online through the national booking service or by ringing 119.
It is also possible to visit one of hundreds of walk-in centres across the country without the need to book in advance.
The Melton Vaccination Centre at Melton Sports Village is not currently being used for jabs so the nearest walk-in centre in the area is St Hilda’s Church, on Lingdale, East Goscote, which is open tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday, from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
Go to www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/ to find other vaccination centres in the area.