UK Health Minister tells aged care workers take COVID-19 vaccine or be sacked, redeployed

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The UK Government Health Secretary Matt Hancock said COVID-19 vaccinations are to be compulsory for staff in England’s aged care facilities.

Mr Hancock said if any worker refuses, they face being redeployed away from front-line care or potentially be sacked.

Aged care staff will have 16 weeks to get both doses from the time regulations are approved by Parliament in October.

“The vast majority of staff in care homes are already vaccinated but not all, and we know that the vaccine not only protects you but protects those around you,” said Mr Hancock.

More than 32,000 people died from COVID-19 in aged care facilities in England and Wales between 28 December 2019 and 11 June 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In Australia, WA Premier Mark McGowan has declared he will mandate compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations for all aged care workers in his State after Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged State Premiers to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for aged care workers, overriding advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, who feared staff would walk away in numbers.

More than three-quarters of Australians, in a poll of 1,001 people, support a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine for frontline workers in aged care and other vulnerable settings, according to a survey from the Canberra-based think tank, the Australia Institute.

The Federal Health Department is requiring residential aged care providers report how many of their staff have been vaccinated against COVID-19, although the information is voluntary.

The data will assist Governments and aged care providers in understanding the current status of workforce vaccination, support public health measures on COVID-19 and inform any adjustments needed to support workers’ access to a COVID-19 vaccination.

According to data to 22 June, 195,835 residents are fully vaccinated and 222,722 residents have received a first dose. A further 28,657 residents have not yet received the vaccination for a variety of reasons including consent, illness or due to their advanced care planning.