'Get a jab or get another job,' Sajid Javid's message to 750 Northamptonshire care home staff
Health secretary sticks to November 11 deadline despite warnings of looming crisis
Health secretary Sajid Javid has told 750 staff in working Northamptonshire care homes to "get the jab or get another job."
Nearly ten per cent of the county's 8,000 care workers will not be double vaccinated in time to meet the government's deadline of November 11.
Doses are delivered eight weeks apart, so anybody who did have their first jab by Thursday (September 16) cannot get the second in time.
But Mr Javid says he will not extend the deadline despite warnings from homes and union it will lead to a crisis in staffing levels.
He believes that others will come forward to replace those who are forced to leave the care sector.
Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If you work in a care home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country, and if you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated then get out and go and get another job."
According to official figures, 331 care home staff out of 3,755 in North Northamptonshire were still unjabbed on September 19. The equivalent number in West Northamptonshire is 419 out of 4,311.
County-wide, around 1,500 workers were yet to receive the vital second dose.
Nationwide, the National Care Association estimates that 40,000 people could be forced to quit their jobs because of the deadline, and that almost 80,000 "are still in the danger zone" as they have only received a single dose.
Mr Javid stressed that the deadline was imposed for the safety and benefit of care home residents.
He said: "If you want to look after them, if you want to cook for them, if you want to feed them, if you want to put them to bed, then you should get vaccinated.
"If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care?
"If you think about elderly relatives you might have in care homes, and the idea that someone wants to look after them and they don't want to take a perfectly safe and effective vaccine... because somehow they have got some objection to this vaccine, then really, honestly, they shouldn't be in our care homes."
Healthcare union UNISON has warned the vaccination requirement could lead to serious staff shortages.
Northamptonshire branch secretary, Kevin Standishday, said recently: "As we head into autumn with possibly more Covid and flu cases it’s a crisis waiting to happen. The government announces these things without any proper understanding of what will happen.”
Gary Mitchell, a Unison caseworker in Northampton, revealed that around one-third of calls to the union office have been about the new rules.
He said: “This is a sector which is already stretched.
"Staff have worked right through the pandemic and they are upset that they could now lose their jobs if they don’t have the vaccine.”