Matt Hancock has confirmed that legislation has been drawn up to make vaccination compulsory for care home workers that look after the most elderly or vulnerable in society. The Health Secretary stressed that ‘no decisions had been taken’ but that the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, has been tasked with looking into the issue.
With the vaccination programme being rolled out across the UK and with over half of all adults now having been inoculated against Covid-19. A clearer picture of the uptake has been seen with one third of care home workers not having taken the vaccine, despite being in the top four priority groups.
The UK is observing the anniversary of the first lockdown announcement by the prime minister, Boris Johnson today. With the cloud of further bans to international travel and a £5,000 fine for leaving the country the idea of mandatory vaccination is causing some concern among those who are already sceptical. Rachel Reeves, shadow Cabinet Office minister, has said that measures would be ‘counterproductive’ and ‘increase scepticism’.
Matt Hancock said that “There is a duty of care that people have if you work in an elderly care home,” going on to say that there remained “important moral questions” surrounding the issue. “There would be a change in the law required, so this is something that we are considering but we haven’t made a final decision on and we do want to hear from care homes and indeed care home staff on this question.
‘’And, therefore, I entirely understand why some care homes wanting to take that duty of care over those who are in that home - for the residents - are keen for us to be able to take this step so that they can require people who otherwise pass on the virus to take the vaccine’’
Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer is calling for an inquiry into the actions taken of the past 12months saying that ‘’We owe both the NHS staff and those on the front line and all the families of those who have died to learn the lessons of the last 12 months, to have an inquiry and to learn what went wrong to make sure we never repeat that.’
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