A third of care homes staff have turned down the offer of a Covid-19 jab, vaccination leaders have warned.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) admitted Britain “has a problem” with low take up among social care staff.

The Science and Technology Committee was told of the low take up and that any decision to make carers take a compulsory jab would be for Government.

One in ten NHS doctors have also not taken up the option of having a jab. It is not known how many have refused due to a medical exemption.

It came on the day Prof Van Tam said health and care workers should have a Covid-19 vaccine as part of their “professional responsibility” to patients.

Ellen Prosser, known as Nell, who is 100 years old, receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Ellen Prosser, known as Nell, who is 100 years old, receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
(Image: REUTERS)

Professor Anthony Harnden, JCVI deputy chairman, told MPs on the committee: “In care home staff we do have a problem in terms of vaccine coverage.

“It was one of our rationales frontline health care workers being in the high priority group that not only were there exposure risks, but they were treating lots of vulnerable, older people who could potentially get the virus from them.

“I don’t know where we’re going with this. It certainly wouldn’t be a JCVI decision to make this compulsory. That would be a political consideration.”

NHS England has said around 88% of patient-facing NHS Trust health care workers in England are likely to have had their first dose of a vaccine by now.

However Prof Anthony Harnden told MPs this was as low as 66% in care homes workers. He said take up was 80% among nurses and 90% among doctors.

It followed reports that in some care homes only a fifth of social care workers have taken up the offer of a jab.

Prof Van-Tam told Good Morning Britain: “I agree with Professor (Chris) Whitty in that I think healthcare workers have always had a professional responsibility to take steps themselves to prevent them from being in a position where they could harm patients through infectious diseases they might have.

“That’s been a very clear position on hepatitis B vaccine and performing invasive procedures, particularly surgery, for decades and decades.

“And so I think that’s the professional standard that everybody ought to adhere to.

“Now, the other way of framing this is saying, if you’re a consumer of healthcare, if you’re a patient or a relative, would you prefer a healthcare worker to attend you or your relative if they have been vaccinated against Covid, or would you not really mind either way?”

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