Hundreds of care home staff unable to work as new vaccine policy begins

File photo dated 31/07/21 of a person receiving a Covid-19 jab. Unions are warning of "catastrophic"

Hundreds of care home staff in Norfolk are likely to be affected by mandatory vaccine rule changes that came into force Thursday, with many unable to work - Credit: PA

Care home staff who have not had both Covid vaccines will be unable to legally work in care homes from today.

Tens of thousands of care home staff across England will not be able to work today, with hundreds of in Norfolk expected to be affected by the rule change.

Staff working in registered care homes in England now must have had both jabs in order to continue working unless medically exempt.

It is unclear how many staff have already quit due to the requirement.

NHS England figures up to end of October show care home staff numbers fell by more than 4,000 after the first-dose deadline in September, although this is likely due to several reasons.

Fears were raised last week among Norfolk's care sector about the looming deadline.

In Norfolk, 314 out of 8,968 staff had not yet received their first dose - 667 of whom have not been fully vaccinated.

Figures for both older adult care homes and independent care homes for adults aged under 65 show 488 out of 11,197 staff in Norfolk have not yet received the first dose, with 931 staff not fully vaccinated.

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Lorraine Dorrington, who runs Dorrington Care Homes in Watton, Dereham and Wells, with her husband Steve, said previously she had "no words" for the number of staff she feared would be lost.

She said: ""Staffing is a real issue and then care homes are being forced to lose staff that won't have the vaccine. It's absolutely ludicrous.

"In a climate where we all need care staff, our hands are forced to lose staff that have chosen not to have the vaccine."

Care groups called for the deadline to be extended until April, saying the "no jab, no job" policy would likely amount to "no staff, no care." 

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was its "responsibility to do everything we can to protect vulnerable people" adding they had worked "closely with the sector" to encourage vaccine up-take.

It is thought since the deadline was announced, first dose up-take among care home staff rose from 80pc to 94pc. 

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