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Hundreds of Greater Manchester care home staff at risk of losing their jobs

Fewer than 90 per cent of care home staff have been vaccinated in some boroughs of Greater Manchester, meaning they could lose their jobs by next month.

Overall, 92.54 per cent of workers in care homes across Greater Manchester have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine as of Thursday (30 September).

However, more than 1,500 members of staff are still completely unvaccinated, leaving hundreds at risk of losing their jobs when new rules come into force.

Care home workers in England must have had their first dose by 16 September and must be double-jabbed by 11 November to continue working in the sector.

But there are some exemptions which will apply to some care home staff.

The highest uptake of the vaccine among care home workers is in Rochdale, where nearly 96 per cent have had their first dose, while in Wigan the rate is 95.1 per cent.

Between 93 and 95 per cent of care home staff in Tameside, Bolton, Oldham and Bury have been jabbed, while Trafford and Stockport's rate is around 90 per cent. 

The lowest rate of vaccination among care home staff is in Manchester where 89.3 per cent have had their first dose, followed by Salford where uptake is 89.7 per cent. 

Steve Dixon, who is chief accountable officer at Salford clinical commissioning group (CCG), said authorities across Greater Manchester have been working with care homes to encourage their staff to take the coronavirus vaccine.

He told the CCG governing body that rates have improved in recent weeks – but he highlighted the risk that some staff will soon be leaving the care sector.

Nevertheless, he said care homes have plans in place and will recruit staff.

He said: “Some of these staff could be working in catering or other parts of the care home. So it’s a little bit of a false number when we look at all these numbers of staff who haven’t been vaccinated. It is a smaller subset that will directly impact on the care given to people in the care home.”

However, Dixon said some care home staff are being attracted to jobs in hospitality and retail since the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.

He said Salford council and CCG are committed to offering the Real Living Wage for care workers across the city – but this may still not be enough.

He spoke of ‘golden handshakes, incentives and bonus payments’ being offered to new staff by other organisations for signing up for the job.

Dixon told the governing body the public sector cannot compete with this.

He said: “The people working in this sector are probably the lowest paid people we’ve got working in public services and at the moment some of these staff have been attracted and recruited to other parts of the job market.”

The third phase of the vaccination programme, known as the ‘booster’ jabs, started two weeks ago with some people in priority groups already invited.

However, the third jab can only be administered six months after the second.

Everyone who is entitled to receive their first and second jabs, including school age children, can still be vaccinated in Salford as part of the ‘evergreen’ offer.

School nurses have started administering the vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds.

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