Helen Whately has suggested health and care workers who refuse to get vaccinated could be moved to back-office roles. She told Sky News that care homes had been hit particularly hard by Covid, and said: “The reality is that one of the best ways we can protect people living in care homes is through making sure that staff are vaccinated.” Ms Whately said there were people who could not have the Covid-19 vaccine for medical reasons but those who decline the jab could lose their frontline jobs.
Asked whether she was concerned that the vacancies in social care would increase by mandating that workers must be jabbed, she said: “The big question has to be well, if you don’t want to get vaccinated, how can you continue, how can it be right to continue, to look after people who are really vulnerable from Covid?”
While she told Times Radio: “You can look at whether there are alternative ways somebody could be deployed, for instance, in a role that doesn’t involve frontline work, or doesn’t involve being physically in the same setting as the patient, whether it’s, for instance, working on 111, something like that.
“So we could look at alternative roles for individuals, these are exactly the sorts of things that we can investigate.”
The Government has launched a six-week consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment for frontline workers in health and care settings.
READ MORE: Churchill charity DELETES his name in ‘unacceptable’ race row
It means staff could be required to have both Covid and flu vaccines to protect patients from infection, serious illness or death.
Some 92 percent of NHS staff have had their first dose of a coronavirus jab while 88 percent have had both doses.
Figures published by NHS England on Thursday suggest that 233,181 social care staff, outside of those working in older age care homes, are yet to be vaccinated.
Some 82.7 percent of staff working in care homes for younger adults, or in domiciliary care, have had a first jab, as have 74.9 percent of those working in other settings, such as non-registered providers and those employed by local authorities.
“You could conceivably run into a position where you’re immunising a lot of people when they don’t actually need to be, and if the vaccines do wane, then they will wane earlier than they would have done if you’d immunised them when they did need to be.”
Prof Finn was also asked about top US doctor Anthony Fauci’s comments that the Pfizer vaccine wears off and everybody should get a third jab of a Covid vaccine.
Prof Finn said: “Well there are two big issues here.
“One is that…although there’s waning against mild disease, we’re not clear that we’re seeing a real problem with waning against severe disease and the programme’s really driven by trying to keep people out of hospital and stop people dying…
“The other thing is that there is a limited global supply of vaccine and each dose going into the arm of someone who is already immune is not going into the arm of someone who’s got no immunity at all.”