Sajid Javid has said care home workers who are not willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 should “get out and get another job”.
The Health Secretary said he is not prepared to “pause” the requirement for care home staff to be fully-vaccinated by November 11, amid concerns significant numbers of staff are reluctant to receive the vaccine.
The Government announced their decision to make vaccination compulsory for care home workers in August, a controversial move that sector and union leaders warned could lead to a “mass exodus” of staff.
Mr Javid told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:
“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.”
He added: “If you want to look after them [care home residents], if you want to cook for them, if you want to feed them, if you want to put them to bed, then you should get vaccinated. If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care?”
‘Coercing and bullying people can never be the right approach’
Christina McAnea, Unison’s general secretary, said: “Vaccination remains the way out of the pandemic. But coercing and bullying people can never be the right approach.”
However, Boris Johnson defended the vaccine mandate for care workers, saying that it was the “right thing” to ensure peace of mind for families.
“I think that it’s only reasonable to expect people who are entrusted with the care of elderly and vulnerable people to be inoculated against a disease which is particularly harmful to elderly and vulnerable people.”
Speaking during a visit to Leeds General Infirmary, the Prime Minister said: “I think any Government really hesitates for a long time before asking people to get a vaccine as a condition of their employment.”
“It is a dilemma but we did decide some time ago now that the right thing, for the peace of mind of families up and down the country, is that people working in social care should get vaccinated.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told The Telegraph in September: “The vast majority of care staff are already vaccinated and we are focusing on encouraging even more staff to get jabbed to protect their colleagues and those they care for.
“Our message is clear – vaccines save lives and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to reduce the risk for vulnerable people in care homes.”
Source: The Telegraph