Persuasion not coercion must be the key to drive vaccine take-up, says UNISON

Mandatory jabs are the wrong approach and a massive distraction.

Gloved hand holding vial of COVID-19 vaccine

Responding to the announcement today (Wednesday) of a government consultation on whether mandatory vaccinations should be introduced for care workers, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Boosting the number of vaccinations in the social care sector is essential for everyone’s safety. But mandatory jabs are the wrong approach and a massive distraction.

“Targeting adverts at care staff, lining up already-jabbed colleagues to offer reassurance, tackling misinformation and giving staff time to make the right decision is where the government should be concentrating its efforts. It’s what’s worked in the NHS and in other countries.

“Resources should be ploughed into areas of the UK with low take-up rates to persuade rather than coerce nervous care workers. ​Care employers should give staff time off work to make it as easy as possible for all concerned.

“Too heavy handed an approach could backfire badly. Some staff may simply up and go, leaving a poorly paid sector already struggling with thousands and thousands of vacancies in a terrible state. That could damage the quality of care for the elderly and vulnerable, and no-one wants that.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, private and community sectors.

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