Three in 10 care home residents not recorded as receiving booster jab

·3-min read
A patient receiving a Covid-19 vaccine booster (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)
A patient receiving a Covid-19 vaccine booster (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

More than two-thirds of care home staff and almost a third of residents in England have not received a coronavirus vaccine booster, latest figures have suggested.

Some 28.8% of staff and 69.7% of residents had received a booster jab as of November 21, according to figures from NHS England

This means 71.2% of staff (326,281 staff) and 30.3% of residents (95,716 residents) have not been recorded as having received their booster as of Sunday.

In younger age care homes, 24% of staff and 50.2% of residents have received their booster dose.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

Overall, it means that 391,795 of all staff (71.9%) and 113,420 of all residents (32.2%) have not been recorded as being fully vaccinated.

The figures are based on responses from 96.5% of older age care homes and 93.1% of younger age care homes.

NHS England said the percentages for those who have received a booster, therefore, may be underestimated.

There will be some staff whose vaccination status is unknown while there may also be a time lag in some vaccinations being reported, it added.

The Government’s target was to have offered boosters to all care homes by early November.

On November 5, it said boosters had been either already delivered or booked in at every older adult care home in England where safe to do so.

The booster programme started around two months ago.

The jabs are available six months after a second dose for all adults aged 40 and over, along with other key groups including frontline health and social care workers, while third doses are available eight weeks after a second dose to people aged 12 and over with severely weakened immune systems.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

Updated clinical guidance means care home residents who had their second dose at different times can be given their booster at the same time, as long as the gap is at least five months.

Overall, the figures show that 95% of residents and 93.5% of staff at older age care homes have had at least two vaccine doses.

The equivalent figures for younger adult care homes are 91.1% of residents and 91.4% of staff.

Several thousand staff are understood to have self-certified as medically exempt or to have applied for formal proof.

The deadline for staff to have had both vaccine doses passed two weeks ago, with the mandatory vaccination rule coming in on November 11.

Staff who have not been double jabbed cannot legally work inside registered care homes in England, unless they are exempt.

Since the week ending November 7, the sector has 5,000 fewer staff in post – 4,352 fewer in older age care homes, and 720 fewer in care homes for younger adults.

This includes 1,329 fewer staff in the last week.

The fall is likely to be due to multiple reasons, with staff said to be experiencing pandemic burnout, and struggles with recruitment and retention as industries such as hospitality and retail prove more attractive, on top of the mandatory vaccination requirement.

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