Tameside workers whose duties require them to enter an adult care home are being urged to get their Covid vaccinations as soon as possible.
Along with care home staff, they will have to be vaccinated against coronavirus, unless they are medically exempt, under new government legislation.
A 16-week grace period began on 22 July – which means workers have until 16 September to get their first dose of the vaccine, so they can be fully vaccinated by the time the legislation comes into the force on 11 November.
The legislation covers professions who need to enter care homes to carry out work including hairdressers and beauticians, maintenance staff and other health and care staff. They will have to be able to show they have had both vaccinations or are medically exempt from 11 November to continue to work in homes.
People living in care homes are particularly vulnerable to severe illness and death from Covid-19 and the government has said that making vaccination a condition of deployment in care homes will better protect them against the virus.
Latest figures show that just over 90 per cent of the 1,601 care home staff in Tameside have received their first dose and just over 80 per cent have had their second dose, while 82 per cent of the 1,291 home care staff in Tameside have received their first dose and just over 76 per cent have had their second dose. An eight-week gap is needed between the first and second doses.
Councillor Eleanor Wills, Tameside Council Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, said: “It’s fantastic that more than 90 per cent of care home staff and 82 per cent of home care staff in Tameside have already had their vaccine and those figures are increasing every day. However, it’s a legal requirement to be fully vaccinated to work in a care home so I’d urge those yet to do so to get theirs as soon as possible as time is running out.
“Throughout the pandemic, our care home staff have gone above and beyond in the work and commitment they’ve given to care for people. We fully appreciate the valuable contribution they make to the health and wellbeing of our residents and the vaccine is the best way of protecting themselves and others from becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 and helps cut transmission, which is so important in our care homes.
"It’s also really important that businesses who work with care homes and enter the home are also fully aware of the legislation. Anyone who is required to go into a care home for work purposes in anything other than an emergency needs to have had both vaccinations as well.”
The council say it is working with NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group to provide support to care homes to help them meet the new legislation with advice and information for staff.
Local vaccine hubs are open for drop-ins so that anyone aged 16 or over can just walk in to get their vaccine, no appointment or ID needed, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, first and second doses. More details can be found at www.tameside.gov.uk/covidvaccine.
Alternatively, people can book an appointment at one of the hubs by heading to www.tamesideandglossop.nhsvaccinations.co.uk or calling their GP Practice. There is also the option to book at the mass vaccination centres by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or calling 119.