HEALTH bosses and care providers have urged all care home staff to get their coronavirus vaccination to help protect vulnerable people from Covid-19.

Compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations for care home staff in England were approved by MPs in July and are set to be introduced in November.

Anyone working in a Care Quality Commission-registered care home in England must have two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption.

Conservative MP for Darlington Peter Gibson said it is "essential" for care workers to be vaccinated.

"Care homes are the homes of our elderley and loved ones and it is right that they should be offered the maximum protection from those caring for them in their home," he said. 

READ MORE: Hundreds of North East care workers have not had Covid jab

The Northern Echo: North park care home, in Darlington, is run by BarchesterNorth park care home, in Darlington, is run by Barchester

Care provider Barchester, which runs six care homes across County Durham, Darlington and North Yorkshire, said it requires all staff to be vaccinated unless medically exempt.

A spokeswoman said: “The new Government regulations which come into force in November are significant for the care sector as we must protect the most vulnerable sector of society.

“We have already taken the decision that staff working in a Barchester care home or hospital must be vaccinated and we have carried out extensive internal communication and engagement programmes with staff, as well as 1-1 support to encourage this.

“As a result we have seen strong uptake and positive engagement with the Covid-19 vaccination and we are pleased that only 0.1 per cent of staff left due to unwillingness to have the vaccine.

“Now 95 per cent of our staff are vaccinated and of the remainder, some are medically exempt and the rest are new joiners who will have the vaccine within the first 12 weeks of employment with Barchester.

“Those staff with valid medical exemptions will operate with enhanced PPE.”

The Northern Echo: Amanda Healy, Durham County Council’s director of public health receiving her first vaccineAmanda Healy, Durham County Council’s director of public health receiving her first vaccine

Amanda Healy, Durham County Council’s director of public health, said: “There is only a small percentage of care home staff in County Durham yet to receive their vaccines, and we are working closely with providers to close this gap.

“This includes holding regular information sessions to highlight the importance and benefits of the vaccine, as well as making staff aware of walk-ins, vaccination bus sessions, and appointments that are readily available.”

Barchester said it made the decision to help protect all staff and vulnerable residents from catching the virus.

“We did not introduce our vaccine policy lightly, but took the view that providing safe care for those we look after is our paramount obligation,” the spokeswoman added.

“As the Chief Medical Officer has said, it is a professional duty for care home staff to accept the vaccine unless there is a medical reason they should not.

“Further to this we also took a staff survey and found the majority of our staff were in favour of having the vaccine and also wanted other staff to as well.”

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