British Health Secretary Sajid Javid
has told care home workers who decline the COVID-19 jab to leave the health sector.
The Cabinet minister told BBC Radio One’s Today programme on Saturday morning that he rejected calls by healthcare union UNISON to "pause" an 11 November deadline for all staff
"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", he added. "If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care?"
UNISON warned in mid-September
that the deadline was too soon for all care home staff to get vaccinated, arguing the policy would prompt a staff crisis. The union pointed out that there were already 112,000 vacancies in the care sector, and the government itself estimated between 40,000 and 70,000 staff would be lost to the "no jab, no job" policy.
Uptake of vaccines among care workers, who were among the 15 million top-priority recipients, was low — with 19 percent of domiciliary home staff and 25 percent in other social care settings still unvaccinated
as of August.
The latest Public Health England
data released on Friday afternoon showed that nearly 90 per cent of over-16s had been vaccinated against coronavirus, with 82.5 per cent having their second dose.
Vaccination rates also vary widely by ethnicity
, being highest among whites and lowest among black people
— especially those of African origin.
Just over 34,000 people received the first dose on Thursday, with the same number having their booster — a far cry from the peak of over half a million jabs administered on some days in April and May.