UK health secretary Sajid Javid has said care workers who don’t want to get vaccinated should “get out and get another job” in the most hardline stance on the jab from a government minister yet.
Trade bodies and care home providers have raised concerns that the deadline for the legal requirement for workers to be fully vaccinated is too soon and they could face a staffing crisis if thousands lose their jobs for missing it.
But asked on the BBC’s Today programme how the country would cope if tens of thousands of care workers quit the sector, Javid said: “There are other people … who will come forward.”
Currently the deadline for care workers to receive both jabs is 11 November if they work in a Care Quality Commission-registered care home, but The National Care Association has called for a pause, arguing that the policy could lead to some homes having to close completely.
Javid did not seem inclined to budge on the policy this morning, however, and said: “If you work in a care home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country and if you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated, then get out and go and get another job.”
“If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care?” he added.
Meanwhile Nadra Ahmed, the chair of the National Care Association, told the same programme that the government should be more flexible with the deadline.
“We are not anti-vaccine. What we are saying is we needed a bit more time to get people where they needed to be,” Ahmed said.
“The situation is chronic now with staffing and that deadline will just add to it,” she added.
Around 86 per cent of care home staff in England are now fully vaccinated, the National Care Association said – double the proportion that originally said they were prepared to receive the jab.