The Independent Care Group (ICG) is dismayed over reports that the Government is to make a Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for those working in the sector.
The ICG said it feared the policy might discourage people from taking up jobs in social care at a time when there are upwards of 120,000 vacancies.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “I can understand why the Government has taken this decision as it is vital that we get as many people protected against Covid-19 as possible. The vaccine is very important and playing a crucial role in the pandemic.
“However, I do not like the idea of forcing people to do something against their will and would prefer it to remain a matter of personal choice rather than be compulsory.
“I think the Government hasn’t gone far enough in its efforts to persuade people of the value of the vaccine and is using the blunt instrument of legislation.
“This will without doubt create another barrier to recruitment at a time when social care providers are facing an employment crisis and struggling to fill one shift at a time.
“What about those already employed? Are employers going to have to force them to have the injection and dismiss them if they don’t? That can’t be right and will surely open the door for legal challenge.
“There has been discussion about redeploying those who won’t have the vaccine, but again that isn’t always an option, particularly for smaller operators. This whole thing seems to demonstrate once again a lack of understanding of the social care sector.
“We trust it will extend to all healthcare workers, including those taking up NHS posts. And will it become compulsory to have a flu jab in future, as for some people the flu can be a fatal illness?”