HUNDREDS of care home workers in Cheshire East, and Cheshire West and Chester, are yet to receive a Covid vaccination – as fears grow of a national staffing shortage with the deadline looming for all staff to get vaccinated.
Under a decision passed by MPs in July, all eligible staff must be double-jabbed by November 11 in an older adult care home in a bid to protect residents.
But the move has been described as ‘ill-thought-out’ by care sector leaders who fear a major staffing crisis.
NHS figures show in Cheshire East, 392 out of 4,347 eligible staff (nine per cent), including agency workers, at older adult care homes had not received a first dose by August 22.
That proportion has fallen slightly from mid-June, shortly after the legislation for mandatory vaccinations was announced, when 13 per cent were unvaccinated.
In Cheshire West and Chester, 268 out of 3,087 eligible staff (also nine per cent), had not received a first dose by August 22.
That proportion has fallen slightly from mid-June, when again, 13 per cent were unvaccinated.
Nadra Ahmed, chief executive of the National Care Association, said she was ‘extremely concerned’ over the impact of unvaccinated workers being forced out of care homes, come the November deadline.
She said the industry was already struggling to fill 115,000 vacancies.
The Department of Health and Social Care estimates around seven per cent of the care industry workforce – around 40,000 workers – risk being lost as a result of making vaccination a condition of employment in care homes.
And a survey of 1,000 care managers by The Institute of Health and Social Care Management found more than half feared they would have to dismiss staff due to the requirement – a quarter expected to lose between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of staff.
A DHSC spokesperson said: “Vaccines save lives and while staff and residents in care homes have been prioritised and the majority are now vaccinated, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to reduce the risk for vulnerable people.
“We continue to work to encourage adult social care and care home staff to get vaccinated in local areas where uptake is lower so that care homes are able to comply with the new regulations which come into force in November.”