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Forcing care workers to have Covid vaccine will backfire, warns Unison

FORCING care workers to be vaccinated for Covid-19 is likely to backfire on the industry, Unison warns today.

The public service union says a survey of more than 4,000 staff in care homes and those working in the community has shown that plans for mandatory vaccinations would be counterproductive and could trigger employee shortages in a sector already in crisis.

The union has detailed its concerns in evidence to a government consultation on proposals to make the jab compulsory for workers in care homes for the elderly in England.

Almost nine out of 10 respondents said they had already been vaccinated.

The most common response from non-vaccinated staff was that they had turned down the offer.

Other reasons given included pregnancy, that they were waiting for more research before going ahead or that they were still waiting for an appointment.

More than two-thirds of those who took part in the survey said that their employer had provided support and advice about Covid-19 vaccines.

But others had received no helpful advice from their bosses and some revealed that employers had imposed a deadline for them to get the jab.

A minority said that their employer had threatened to sack them if they turned down the offer of a vaccination or were told that their pay would be cut if they refused.

Unison senior national officer for social care Gavin Edwards said: “Vaccinations are the way out of this pandemic, but forcing staff to get jabbed won’t work, nor will threats and bullying.

“The government should concentrate on persuasion and reassurance. The care sector is facing huge staff shortages. 

“This already dire situation will only get worse if employees feel coerced and unsupported.”

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