Council bosses say they are ready to support Black Country nursing homes with potential staff shortages this winter caused by workers refusing to be vaccinated against Covid.
Hundreds of nursing home staff appear to have passed the deadline for a mandatory jab – and are at risk of losing their jobs as a result.
Starting November 11, all nursing home workers – and anyone entering a nursing home – will need to be fully immunized, unless exempted. To be vaccinated on time, they must have had their first vaccine by September 16.
READ MORE: Hundreds of Black Country Nursing Home Workers ‘Miss Vaccination Deadline’
Some of those who did not receive the vaccine may be exempted for health reasons, but it is feared that many simply refused it.
In the Black Country, 93.3% of staff working in nursing homes, or 8,186 people, had received their first vaccine in the week ending September 19, according to figures. That leaves 587 people working in these houses who had not had their first jab by the deadline.
The problem is most urgent at Sandwell, where 7.6 percent of workers have not received the jab.
The Unison union has warned of “catastrophic” staff shortages unless the mandatory jab policy is abandoned.
The Black Country’s advice has downplayed the potential impact of the loss of unvaccinated workers, but say they are monitoring the situation closely. They said they were ready to offer support when needed.
Tens of thousands of people have died from Covid in nursing homes since the start of the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the Sandwell Council said: “The Sandwell Council has worked closely with local nursing homes to understand the impact of mandatory vaccination starting in November and we continue to monitor vaccine uptake and implications for individual healthcare providers and the Sandwell healthcare market as a whole.
“To ensure continuity of care, the council also works with individual care providers to understand and review the pressures local care homes face, and the emergency plans the departments have in place to manage them. This work will continue as long as we maintain our support for the local healthcare market as the date of entry into force of the new legislation approaches. “
We are giving away a free iPhone13 Pro to one lucky person who signs up for our newsletter – you can enter here.
A spokesperson for the Walsall Council said: “We continue to work with all residential and nursing care providers to ensure safe staffing levels are maintained and contingency plans are in place. The board is confident that there will be minimal disruption to the quality of care provided. from November due to the compulsory vaccination program.
“We continue to encourage all health and social care staff, including volunteers and other support staff who will enter a residential care or nursing facility, to accept the offer of both doses of the vaccination. Covid. Residents of nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to serious illness and death from Covid. “
Councilor Nicolas Barlow, member of the Adult Health and Social Services Cabinet, said: “We have worked with nursing homes to encourage and support caregivers to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated and I am happy to say that we have seen a very high intake of the vaccine.
“Some have chosen not to be vaccinated but there is a proportion of unvaccinated staff who have legitimate medical exemptions from the vaccine.
“As we move into a busy winter season, we will continue to support care providers who are experiencing capacity issues and make the Infection Control Fund available accordingly.”
Councilor Linda Leach, cabinet member of the Wolverhampton Council for Adult Services, said: ‘It is essential that residents of nursing homes, who are at high risk for coronavirus, are protected from this deadly disease. That is why we must ensure that those who care for them are fully immunized, in order to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
“The latest figures show that 94% of the staff at Wolverhampton Adult Care Homes are fully vaccinated, which is great to see. We recognize how hard all of our social care staff have worked throughout the pandemic, especially our frontline staff, and losing staff under all circumstances is not what we want.
“However, we have a duty to protect the residents of our care homes and must also obey the law, which states that full vaccination will be a requirement in these roles from November 11.”
Stay up to date with the latest in the region with our Black Country email updates.