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A THIRD of social-care staff in England have still not had the Covid-19 vaccine despite being among the groups prioritised, Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted today.
He said it was “very important” for the staff, patients and the society that they get the jab.
Everyone in the top four groups has had an offer to be vaccinated and 15 million people have had the first dose, the government said.
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Getting as many care workers as possible to take the vaccine is the key to making the sector safer.
“But it should be done through encouragement and persuasion, not threats and intimidation.
“When care employers make it a condition of work, or take punitive measures against hesitant staff, trust in the vaccine is undermined.
“Care workers must be given the correct information, as well as time to ask the experts about their concerns, think things through and talk to colleagues who’ve had the jab.”
NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis said he would be talking to clinical leaders from various ethnic groups “to work out together how we can encourage everybody to take up the vaccine.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said that the government favours encouraging care-home staff to come forward and accept jabs rather than employers making them mandatory.
PM Boris Johnson has pledged a “cautious but irreversible” approach to easing the lockdown. He is preparing to set out a “road map” for relaxing measures on February 22, with March 8 earmarked for schools to start reopening to all pupils.
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