How many South Tyne care home workers have had COVID jab?
Nearly a quarter of care home workers in South Tyneside have not had their first coronavirus jab – as the Government consider plans to make it a legal requirement for staff.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that ministers were looking at making jabs compulsory for care home staff – but that "no final decision" has been taken.
New NHS data shows 936 out of 1,201 eligible staff, including agency workers, in South Tyneside, had received a first dose by March 14 – meaning 22% had not.
Care home workers were named among the top four priority groups to be offered the vaccine by February 15.
Nationally, 24% had not been vaccinated by March 14 – the latest available figures.
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Mr Hancock said in a BBC interview "Doctors have to have the hepatitis B vaccine, and so there's already a clear precedent and there's a duty of care that people have if you work in an elderly care home.
"A change in the law is required, and so this is something that we're considering but we haven't made a final decision.”
Trade union UNISON said: "Vaccinations are the route to normality, but turning the clock back to Victorian times by forcing care workers to be jabbed isn’t the way.
“Nervous staff need extra time, be encouraged to talk to colleagues who’ve had the jab, and persuaded there's nothing to fear."
Nadra Ahmed, chairman of The National Care Association, said: "We support all care home staff taking up the option of the vaccine, however to make it compulsory at this moment might not be the right way forward.”