Thousands of care home staff in Harborough and across Leicestershire have been getting Covid jabs as the deadline for mandatory vaccination in the sector approaches.
The Government has said that all people who work in care homes will need to be fully vaccinated by law by November 11.
The Department of Health and Social Care says vaccination offers the best protection against Covid-19 for both staff and residents in homes.
So far 92 per cent of Leicestershire’s care home workers have had their first vaccination and 83 per cent have been doubled jabbed.
But that means nearly 500 still require vaccination if they are to be legally allowed to continue working in homes after November 11.
Now public health and social care bosses at Leicestershire County Council are reminding care staff of the key date of Thursday September 16.
Anyone who has not had their first jab by then will not have time to get their second before full vaccination is required by law.
That is because of the usual gap of at least eight weeks between doses.
Leicestershire’s director of public health Mike Sandys said: “We are pleased to see that so many care workers in the county have taken up the option of getting fully vaccinated already.
“However, we are fast approaching the point where those who have not yet got their first dose could run out of time to get the second.”
He added: “Vaccination is the best defence against the virus both for the people they are looking after and themselves.
“With case rates on the rise, it makes sense for everyone to get vaccinated but the coming change in the law means it’s very pressing for care staff.”
There have been concerns nationally about vaccine hesitancy among care workers ahead of the deadline.
It is feared some staff may choose not to have a jab and opt to find work in another industry - leaving homes short of workers.
The county council is working with homes to increase staff confidence in the vaccine.
It has been helping arrange question and answer sessions, promoting convenient vaccine appointments and assisting managers in communicating with their staff.
The council is also working closely with homes to help them with recruitment and managing potential staff shortages.
The county council’s cabinet lead member for adult social care, Cllr Christine Radford, thanked care workers who have so far been vaccinated.
“Our care workers have been doing a tremendous job throughout the pandemic in the most challenging circumstances.
“I’m grateful for all their efforts,” said Cllr Radford.
“It’s encouraging to see how many of them have been getting vaccinated as the new legislation approaches.
“I’d like to remind people of the time scales involved so they can be ready for the changes the Government requires.”
The new legislation will also apply to those coming into care homes to do other work.
For example, healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, taxi drivers and Care Quality Commission inspectors will also have to follow the new regulations - unless they have a medical exemption.
Vaccinations can be booked by calling 119 or online through the national booking service: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/