Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that a third of social care staff and one fifth of NHS staff have still not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Mr Hancock revealed vaccine uptake is low among some groups of healthcare staff after the Government hit its target to offer a vaccine to the top four priority groups a day early. More than 15 million people were vaccinated by Sunday ahead of yesterday’s deadline.
The health secretary told BBC Breakfast yesterday: ‘For social care staff it’s around two thirds, so we’ve still got a third who need to come forward. That’s obviously incredibly important.’
In a bid to encourage staff to have the jab, he added: ‘It is the right thing to do. It is very important that you come forward and take up this vaccine. It’s important for you, it’s important for your patients and, of course, it’s important for the whole of society.’
At a press conference that evening, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said there was ‘hesitancy on the part of some black and south Asian communities to accept that vaccine offer that they’re receiving – either at work if they’re a health and social care worker or as a member of the public’.
He added that there was a ‘huge effort’ underway to encourage uptake among these communities. The Government published an uptake plan last Saturday to help ensure as many people as possible are taking up the offer of vaccination.
Uptake is high among elderly people, with more than 90% of over-70s and more than 97% of 75- to 79-year-olds having received the vaccine.
The Government has now said it aims to offer the vaccine to all over 50s and adults in at-risk groups – amounting to 32 million people – by May.