CARE home workers will be forced by law to get the Covid vaccine, it was reported last night.
Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock are said to have agreed to make it illegal for health staff to refuse the jab.
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They have taken the hugely controversial decision amid growing alarm at the low take-up of the vaccine in some care homes, The Daily Telegraph reported.
In parts of London, fewer than half of care home staff have had the jab despite being fast-tracked to the front of the queue.
The last time the British government made a vaccine compulsory was in 1853 to tackle smallpox. Families were allowed to opt-out by 1898.
The leaked document, drafted by the Department of Health, is around 15 pages long and entitled “Vaccination as a condition of deployment in adult social care and health settings”.
It states: “The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State [Mr Hancock] have discussed on several occasions the progress that is being made to vaccinate social care workers against Covid-19 and have agreed – in order to reach a position of much greater safety for care recipients – to put in place legislation to require vaccinations among the workforce.”
The Cabinet sub committee looking into the issue warned that a “large” number of social care workers could quit if ministers make the explosive change.
While No10 could be leaving itself wide open for legal challenges, they added. A Government spokesman last night said no final decision has been made.
But officials are said to be working up the details of the plan ahead of a full consultation. The change is only expected to affect England as health policy is devolved.
A Government spokesman said: “The review into Covid status certification is considering a range of issues. No final decisions have been made.” Ministers have been carrying out four reviews into the use of vaccine passports.
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