TENS of thousands of care home staff have until tomorrow to get double-jabbed — or be fired.
The number of unvaccinated workers has dropped from 88,000 to 32,000 since the mandatory vaccination policy was announced in the summer.
But bosses yesterday warned social care could be plunged into crisis if those unjabbed staff walk out.
They said hundreds of homes could be forced to close due to mass staff shortages — with one saying around 15,000 residents would be left homeless.
And Mike Padgham, who runs Saint Cecilia’s Care Group, in Scarborough, North Yorks, called it the “worst crisis I’ve seen in 30 years in the sector”.
He said: “Several hundred homes may have to close their doors because they don’t have enough staff to operate safely. Where will those thousands of residents go?
“They can’t go into hospitals and they can’t live in their own homes without care.
"Why not let us get through the winter and give people a little longer to choose to be vaccinated?”
But TV doctor Rachel Ward, a GP from West Berks, said: “Ensuring all care home workers are vaccinated adds in an extra layer of defence when it comes to protecting vulnerable residents from being infected.
“As a care worker, it is crucial you are vaccinated to protect yourself and those you care for this winter.
“It is safe and effective.”
Don’t say no to the early 3rd vaccines
NHS chiefs have told vaccine clinics to be flexible after patients were turned away for booking their Covid boosters a few days too early.
A system glitch has allowed eager adults to schedule their third jab before the six-month period had passed since their second dose.
But they were turned away at clinics for turning up too soon. Health bosses now say people should be jabbed as long as they are close to the six-month mark.
Retiree Mark Culbert was sent home on Monday for booking his vaccine four days too soon.
He said: “The system accepted my booking but the pharmacy system said not until six months.”
The NHS insisted the issue was not widespread. It said: “The NHS has issued guidance to local sites advising them not to turn away anyone who is within a few days of being eligible.”
Save our residents
By Gillian Keegan, Minister for Care
VACCINES save lives, it is that simple. Social care workers show real dedication, looking after some of the most vulnerable.
It is why the Government announced our consultation, and then policy, on making vaccines a condition of deployment.
Since then, vaccine uptake has increased.
From Thursday, vaccines will be required for all those working in CQC registered care homes.
We must continue to do everything we can to protect our care home residents.
Getting vaccinated is one of the most effective ways carers can reduce the risk of unknowingly passing on a virus. Please get yours to ensure maximum protection.
Shots for deniers
ALMOST half of anti-vax Brits have now had a jab, stats show.
And vaccine hesitancy fell from ten per cent to three per cent between January and August.
Some 65 per cent of people who changed their mind wanted life to be normal, the Office for National Statistics found.
And 60 per cent did it to protect themselves and others, while 31 per cent were persuaded by family or friends.
Swansea University’s Dr Simon Williams called it encouraging.
NHS stats show 50.2million Brits have had one jab. Nearly 46million have had both.
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