The Government has announced that the Covid-19 vaccine will be mandatory for all care home workers in England – with staff urged to get their lifesaving jab as soon as possible to protect themselves and the people they care for.

Anyone whose duties require them to enter an adult care home will also have to be vaccinated against Covid-19, unless they are medically exempt.

A 16 week grace period began on Thursday (22 July). It means workers have until 16 September to get their first dose of the vaccine so that they can be fully vaccinated by the time regulations come into force on 11 November, allowing for an 8 week gap between doses.

People living in care homes are particularly vulnerable to severe illness and death from Covid-19, and the Government said that making vaccination a condition of deployment in care homes will "help ensure that residents at high risk from Covid-19, either due to their age, underlying health conditions, or disability, are better protected against the virus". 

Some 86% of care home staff in Wolverhampton have been vaccinated, according to latest figures. The remainder have just over 7 weeks in which to get their first jab to ensure they are able to have the second by 11 November. Meanwhile, some 94% of residents in Wolverhampton are vaccinated.

Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Care homes up and down the country have been hit particularly hard by Covid-19 and, despite the fantastic efforts of staff to keep their residents safe, around 7,000 care homes in England have sadly registered at least one death related to coronavirus.

"We cannot lose sight of the fact that, despite the lifting of restrictions recently, the virus hasn't gone away. Nearly 1,000 people in Wolverhampton tested positive for Covid-19 last week alone – and we need to do all we can to stop it from getting into our care homes.

"The vaccine is the best protection people can get from becoming seriously ill with Covid-19. It also helps to cut transmission of the virus from one person to another.

“It’s brilliant news that nearly 9 in 10 care home staff in Wolverhampton have already had their vaccine, and I would encourage the remainder – and anyone else who is required to go into a care home for work purposes – to get theirs as soon as possible if they can. 

“While taking up the offer of vaccination may, for whatever reason, be a difficult decision for a small number of individuals, it is important to remember that it not only protects you but also your colleagues and the people you care for who are most vulnerable to this deadly virus."

People can book their vaccine by visiting Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines or calling 119. There are also dozens of walk in clinics taking place each week, offering first or second doses to anyone aged 18 and over. Full details, including locations, opening times and vaccine type, are available at Walk in vaccinations

For more information about the vaccine, including the answers to frequently asked questions, please visit Covid-19 Vaccine or Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination.

Latest figures show there were 351.2 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the last 7 days. That means 924 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that same period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.