THE Government estimates that seven per cent of care home workers will not have had the double vaccination by November 11 when it becomes mandatory in their industry.

That would mean about 40,000 dismissals – care home managers fear the figure will be higher – in an industry already struggling to recruit, with more than 100,000 vacancies.

So is it right to make the vaccine mandatory in this time of labour shortage – particularly when it will not be mandatory across the NHS.

A policy which is laudably aiming to protect the elderly could unintentionally make them less well protected because there will be fewer staff to look after them.

The answer, of course, is for all in the industry to continue to educate, persuade and cajole members of staff to take up the vaccine.

Care home workers have a moral and professional responsibility to protect their patients, who are elderly and so, statistically, the most susceptible to Covid. Having seen the devastation caused in care homes in our region by the first waves of the virus, it has hard to see why any caring professional would not accept the vaccine if they are medically able to have it.

We do believe in personal freedom of choice, but the choice being made by a significant percentage of caring workers is mystifying – please explain, even anonymously, in Hear All Sides why you would not have the vaccination if it helped you to protect the people you are paid to protect.