Tens of thousands of care home staff unable to work as jab policy kicks in

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    ens of thousands of care home staff who have not had both coronavirus vaccine doses will be unable to legally work in care homes from Thursday as the Government’s mandatory jab policy kicks in.

    Staff working in registered care homes in England must have had both jabs to continue in their role from Thursday, unless they are medically exempt.

    Official figures due in the afternoon are expected to show that more than 50,000 current staff in care homes for younger and older residents have not been recorded as having received both doses as of November 7 – four days before the deadline.

    Several thousands of these are understood to have self-certified as medically exempt or to have applied for formal proof.

    Of those not double jabbed by November 7, it is understood that more than half have had one dose.

    Health officials expect the number of double vaccinated staff to have risen in the three days between Sunday and Thursday.

    It is unclear how many staff have already quit due to the requirement.

    NHS England figures up to the end of October show that the number of staff in care homes in England has fallen by more than 4,000 since just after the first-dose deadline in mid-September, although this is likely to be due to multiple reasons.

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    Staff who are unvaccinated after the deadline face losing their jobs, although care home providers can choose to redeploy staff into non-frontline roles, if these are available, or place them on paid or unpaid leave until they receive both doses.

    As late as Wednesday, care groups were calling for the deadline to be delayed to next April, saying the “no jab, no job” policy would amount to “no staff, no care”.

    The move comes as care homes face unprecedented staffing shortages, with some quitting in advance due to the requirement and others expected to have worked their last days this week.

    Recruitment and retention is also a struggle as industries such as hospitality and retail, which can offer better pay and hours, prove more popular.

    The Government has allocated £162.5 million to help with workforce issues, and last week launched a national recruitment campaign to fill more than 100,000 social care vacancies.

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