Day: 2 October 2021

Sajid Javid Tells Care Home Workers to “Get Jabbed or Get Another Job”

The Health Secretary has doubled down on the ‘no jab no job’ policy for care home workers, following reports that more than half of care homes could be forced to sack staff because of the rule, saying that those who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid should “get out and get another job”. Dismissing the views of those who have chosen not to get vaccinated, he said ‘refuseniks’ simply “cannot be bothered” to join in with the roll-out. The Telegraph has the story.

The Health Secretary said he is not prepared to “pause” the requirement for care home staff to be fully-vaccinated by November 11th, amid concerns significant numbers of staff are reluctant to receive the vaccine.

The Government announced their decision to make vaccination compulsory for care home workers in August, a controversial move that sector and union leaders warned could lead to a “mass exodus” of staff.

Mr. Javid told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “If you work in a care home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country and if you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated, then get out and go and get another job.”

He added: “If you want to look after them [care home residents], if you want to cook for them, if you want to feed them, if you want to put them to bed, then you should get vaccinated. If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care?”

Christina McAnea, Unison’s General Secretary, said: “Vaccination remains the way out of the pandemic. But coercing and bullying people can never be the right approach.”

Boris Johnson has defended the move, saying it was “only reasonable” to expect workers in a position of care to be vaccinated.

The Prime Minister said: “I think that it’s only reasonable to expect people who are entrusted with the care of elderly and vulnerable people to be inoculated against a disease which is particularly harmful to elderly and vulnerable people.”

Worth reading in full.

Covid Vaccine Uptake Has “Stalled” at 55% In 16-18 Year-Olds

Figures suggest that older teenagers might not be as keen about getting vaccinated against Covid as the Government had hoped, with the percentage of 16-18 year-olds who have been ‘jabbed’ remaining fairly flat in recent weeks. MailOnline has the story.

Only around 55% of 16 and 17 year-olds in England had their first dose by September 26th, latest data shows, a number which had barely risen in the previous three weeks.

Meanwhile, fewer than 10% of 12 to 15 year-olds have come forward for their vaccine. But it only includes one week of data from the point when the majority of teens were eligible.

The analysis was revealed in a weekly report by the new U.K. Health Security Agency, which took over axed Public Health England’s pandemic duties today.

It showed that uptake in the age group was sitting at about 20% at the start of August. This shot up to 50% in the three weeks after the roll-out was expanded to all older teenagers on August 19th. But the progress appears to have stalled in recent weeks, rising just five or so per cent in September.

All age groups have seen a natural stagnation in uptake, with the threshold being much higher in older age groups who are most susceptible to getting severe Covid. For example, the ceiling was about 90% in the over-70s and 80% in people over the age of 50.

Experts said they were not necessarily surprised by the plateau. Cambridge University Epidemiologist Dr. Raghib Ali told MailOnline the enthusiasm for jabs in older teenagers was lower because so many have already had Covid “so don’t feel they need to get vaccinated”.

Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, revealed earlier this month that about half of children had caught the virus at some point already and therefore developed some immunity. Official figures today also suggested one in 20 children were carrying the virus on any given day last week.

“There is no doubt that all vaccines in current use are very good at protecting a vaccinated person from getting infected and getting severe disease but a prior infection does that just as well,” according to Professor Paul Hunter, a medical expert at the University of East Anglia.

He told MailOnline: “So ultimately I am not particularly concerned about the current low uptake of the vaccine in this age group.”

Worth reading in full.

Five Members of England Football Squad Refuse Jab

Five English football players who have been selected for the England squad recently are refusing to have a coronavirus vaccine, threatening their places in the World Cup squad in Qatar. MailOnline has more.

Three senior team members are reportedly among the rebels who believe they are too healthy to suffer Covid or have been pressured by their wives.

One is said to have brazenly declared he was too “young and fit” to be negatively affected by the virus, while another reportedly believes the anti-vaxxer ‘conspiracy theories’ about the jab.

The rest of the players are understood to have been ‘pressured’ not to get the jab by their wives or girlfriends who are against the vaccine.

It will come as a huge blow for England boss Gareth Southgate as World Cup organisers plan to ban all unvaccinated players from Qatar next year.

The Premier League is also struggling to clamp down on stars not taking the vaccine, with almost two-thirds of top-flight players yet to be fully jabbed and many refusing altogether.

Club officials are complaining dressing rooms have been ‘polluted’ by senior players spreading conspiracy theories involving Bill Gates, infertility and the power of vitamins.

But on Thursday night the league received reassurances from the Government that unvaccinated players will remain available for selection if Covid passports are made compulsory at mass events.

Former footballers weighed in on the issue and openly argued on social media over whether vaccines should be forced on stars.

Ex-England player Chris Waddle branded it “embarrassing” and called for a “simple no jab no play” policy. But former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara hit back, saying “it’s a choice and everyone has a choice in life”.

Worth reading in full.

Scottish Businesses to Boycott Vaccine Passport Scheme

The Scottish Government’s vaccine passport scheme hasn’t exactly got off to a flying start. First, there were complaints that the NHS Scotland Covid app does not work and now a number of businesses have vowed to ignore the scheme altogether (for the moment, at least). The Telegraph has the story.

Hours after the rules came into force on Friday morning, the controversial scheme was thrown into disarray when Aberdeen FC abandoned plans to check fans’ vaccination status for Sunday’s fixture against Celtic, blaming “major problems” with a £600,000 app.

Meanwhile, hospitality sector bosses said nightclubs would also ignore rules which required them to check revellers’ status, branding the situation as “farcical”.

The Scottish Government warned the public on Friday morning that proof of vaccination was “now needed” to access nightclubs and large events such as concerts and football matches.

However, in a major reversal, Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Health Secretary, later claimed that nobody should be denied entry this weekend if they failed to show proof of vaccination, and admitted the widespread technical problems may take “days” to fix. …

Ms. Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that businesses would not be punished for failing to enforce rules until October 18th, so that they could test and “build confidence” in the system.

However, new laws came into force at 5am on Friday, and it was expected that the scheme would be operational this weekend on a trial basis.

Aberdeen FC, along with Rangers and Hearts, had originally said fans must prove they had been vaccinated this weekend to gain access to stadiums, despite the enforcement delay. However, Aberdeen said it had scrapped the system for tomorrow’s fixture and that “nobody will be asked to show proof of vaccine”.

The club complained that its ticket office had been inundated with fans worried they would be turned away because they were unable to get the app to work.

Rangers and Hearts also confirmed that nobody would be refused entry to fixtures this weekend. …

Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said many nightclubs would scrap plans to use the technology this weekend.

“How can businesses check what people can’t get?” he said. “Clearly the delay in enforcement until the 18th was because this wasn’t ready. This really is farcical.”

Worth reading in full.

News Round-Up