Unvaccinated care and health workers could change roles

Children in Suffolk and north Essex are now eligible for a Covid vaccine

Work is taking place to ensure as many health and care workers as possible are vaccinated - Credit: PA

Unvaccinated care home staff could be moved into other roles if they refuse to have the Covid jab to allow them to stay working.

Health chiefs in Suffolk say work over the next few weeks is crucial to ensure frontline staff get their jabs in time for the government-mandated deadline.

Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board on Thursday was told around 1% of NHS workers in the county have not been vaccinated yet.

In the care sector around 250 workers in residential nursing and care didn’t take up the vaccine ahead of the November 11 deadline for that industry last year.

NHS workers must have had a first dose by February 3 in order to receive both doses in time for the April cut-off.

Dr Ed Garratt from Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups said he w

Dr Ed Garratt - Credit: Archant

Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said: “We are working through the numbers and having conversations with all of the staff that haven’t been vaccinated yet.

“We think it is probably about 1% of the NHS staff, and we are trying to get that number as low as possible so that is an absolutely crucial piece of work we are doing over the next few weeks.”

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Sue Cook, Suffolk County Council’s executive director of people’s services, said all staff had been jabbed in 80% of the county’s home care providers, with the authority still needing more information from 25 providers.

“We are looking at other options for relocating across the whole system,” she said.

“I am having a discussion with 111 service to see if we can relocate staff into another part of the system which isn’t covered by the CQC regulation.

“We are managing the risk at the moment, assessing the business continuity risk and then looking at solutions going forward."

The meeting also heard of moral difficulties in making jabs compulsory for frontline workers.

Dr Mark Shenton, Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG chairman, said: “We have been hearing issues around mandation – particularly in some of our minority ethnic groups who have been subjected in places they have previously lived under authoritarian rule that they will not have this vaccination because they are told to have it in a mandated way. Where does that place us morally? I think it is a very difficult issue.”