LONDON (Reuters) -England will seek to make it mandatory for care home workers to have coronavirus vaccinations, British health minister Matt Hancock said on Wednesday, and will begin a consultation on whether the measure will be extended to healthcare workers.
Britain has high take-up rates of COVID-19 vaccines but has been examining making the shots compulsory for workers in care homes to boost coverage further.
“We have decided to take this proposal forward to protect residents. The vast majority of staff in care homes are vaccinated, but not all,” Hancock told parliament, adding a similar move would be considered for the National Health Service (NHS).
“We will be taking forward the measures to ensure the mandation, as a condition of deployment, for staff in care homes, and we will consult on the same approach in the NHS in order to save lives and protect patients from disease””
The move may be opposed by some workers who are hesitant about getting the shots, and some lawmakers expressed concern that it might lead to mandatory vaccination for everyone.
“I do not agree with mandatory vaccination of the public,” Hancock said. “But for those who have a duty to care in an environment that includes some of the most vulnerable people in the country, I think that this is a sensible and reasonable step in order to save lives.”
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Alistair Smout; editing by Michael Holden)