Compulsory Covid vaccines could be rolled out – who might be forced to have the jab

Jeremy Corbyn refuses to clarify if he's received vaccine

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Vaccine first doses have been given to 79.4 percent of the UK adult population and 57.4 percent have also received second doses. The coronavirus vaccination programme opened up to all those aged 21 to 25 today meaning millions more people can get their jab. The choice has so far been up to each individual, but soon this could change and one’s livelihood could depend on their vaccine status.

The Government is expected to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for all care home staff according to sources.

Workers are expected to be given 16 weeks to have the jab or risk being deployed away from frontline care – and may even result in them losing their job if they refuse to have the jab.

The initiative is being considered in a bid to protect elderly and vulnerable care home residents, as well as other care home staff and visitors.

The move is expected to be announced in the next few days.

Workers who can prove they have a medical exemption will be exempt from the mandate.

However, the move is expected to impact thousands of workers in an industry where 85 percent of workers are expected to have already received their vaccine.

The move follows a consultation from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), launched in April, two months after the Government said it had met its target of offering all frontline care workers a first dose of a vaccine by mid-February.

At that time, 47 percent of English care homes reportedly had more than a fifth of staff take up the vaccine.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss today said she would back mandatory Covid vaccinations for care home staff if they were responsible for caring for her own parents.

Speaking on June 16, she said the consultation announcement is “very imminent”.

Ms Truss told Sky News: “We are currently consulting on this issue. What we do know is that it’s incredibly important that staff in care homes are vaccinated.

“We have got a hugely vulnerable population in our care homes and making sure that staff are vaccinated is a priority.”

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The announcement has garnered a mixed response, with some praising the initiative and how it would protect workers.

However, some care organisations have warned compulsory vaccinations could cause a recruitment crisis.

Mike Padgham, the chair of the Independent Care Group, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he agrees with the principle but added “persuasion is the way forward still”.

Mr Padgham said: “I do believe people should be vaccinated, but I just think persuasion rather than coercion or compulsion is the way.

“We would like the numbers to be better but the Government could make more effort to get there.”

Ministers are also considering extending the policy to all NHS staff.

This proposal has gained backlash from many organisations.

The British Medical Association, which represents doctors, warned on Tuesday that while they want all NHS staff to get jabbed, “compulsion is a blunt instrument that carries its own risks”.

The organisation said: “While some healthcare workers are already required to be immunised against certain conditions to work in certain areas, any specific proposal for the compulsory requirement for all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 would raise new ethical and legal implications.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic and have already saved thousands of lives – with millions of health and care staff vaccinated.

“Our priority is to make sure people in care homes are protected and we launched the consultation to get views on whether and how the government might take forward a new requirement for adult care home providers, looking after older people, to only deploy staff who have had a COVID-19 vaccination or have an appropriate exemption.

“The consultation has ended and we will publish our response in due course.”

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