Care staff are nearly twice as likely to decline a Covid-19 vaccine if they have not been given vaccination advice or have been threatened by their employers over the issue, a survey has found.
The Unison survey, which received responses from 4,000 UK workers, found that just over one in 10 (12%) had not yet been vaccinated.
However, this number rises to 21% when taking account of respondents who had been threatened by their employer and had not received helpful advice, Unison said.
The body warned that the findings show care workers hesitant about receiving the vaccine ‘respond negatively when threatened’.
This comes after the Government launched a consultation – due to close this week (26 May) – on whether mandatory vaccinations should be introduced for care home workers (26 May), which Unison previously described as ‘a massive distraction’.
The survey found that a third (33%) of respondents had received no helpful advice or support from their employer on the vaccine, and 18% had a deadline imposed by which they had to get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, a further 9% said their boss threatened to fire them if they turned down their vaccination offer, with 3% told they would receive a pay cut. Other respondents (60%) said they faced bullying, emotional blackmail, or threats of no more shifts.
The most common response given from non-vaccinated staff as to why they hadn’t received the jab was that they had simply turned down the offer (65%), the survey found, while 6% said the appointment times did not fit their shift patterns.
Commenting on the findings, Gavin Edwards, Unison’s senior national officer for social care, said: ‘Vaccinations are the way out of this pandemic. But forcing staff to get jabbed won’t work, nor will threats and bullying.
‘The Government should concentrate on persuasion and reassurance. The care sector is facing huge staff shortages. This already dire situation will only get worse if employees feel coerced and unsupported.’