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No jab, no job?

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For most of us, the vaccine has been welcomed with open arms and a rolled up sleeve, but as we move forward and the strong likelihood of vaccination passports or ‘proof of jab’ needed for holidays and nightclubs, what does this mean for going to work?

Despite pretty much universally-approved solutions to the Covid-19 nightmare existing, there are still vast swathes of the population who aren’t quite convinced by the magic potion designed to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed. According to a recent Oxford University survey, about 16% of UK respondents said they wouldn’t be getting the vaccine, for a wide variety of reasons.

The endless vaccine argument

The ‘anti-vaxxers’, ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘genuinely concerned’ have fallen firmly into the minority, and have been met with derision and counter argument. Fair enough to those who believe that 5G technology, microchips and something to do with Bill Gates are all being forced into their bloodstream by the Illuminati, or some such. But what about those who are worried about the effects of coronavirus vaccines on their fertility? Suddenly, mockery doesn’t seem so fair.

The choice to have or refuse the vaccine is something that each individual should have, regardless of how silly or obnoxious many of us think that choice is. But what happens if it goes beyond disagreement, and you’re suddenly unable to work because you don’t want to be jabbed?

Vaccine exclusion

In June 2021, the UK Government announced that it would be mandatory for all workers in CQC (Care Quality Commission) registered care homes to have both Covid-19 vaccine doses. Pending parliamentary approval, this new legislation means that if you don’t want to be jabbed, you can no longer work in a care home from November.

After a rocky start, the uptake among care workers has been promising, with around 80% of those working in care homes having had at least one dose. This doesn’t mean 20% are refusing their jab, but the number of refusers in the industry, which is still yet to be fully seen, could be significant — especially when up to 50% of care workers in London said they wouldn’t have the jab back in February.

The bigger talking point is that many of those being told they won’t be allowed to come to work in care homes would rather look for a new job than cave in and get vaccinated. So strong is the sentiment, that beliefs are coming firmly before their career.

For the care industry, which already faces huge challenges when it comes to attracting, hiring and retaining the best talent, this willingness to change careers rather than be jabbed is a frightening prospect. When November comes, care homes could face a crisis if they don’t act now.

The best move for any care provider is to start acting as soon as possible. Rather than relying on the usual channels, providers need to think outside the box to attract skilled people who may not necessarily already be in the industry. Just look at home-based carers — a section of the population who care for loved ones, parents or other relatives. They have the right skills, experience and are potentially an untapped resource for care homes who may suddenly be left with sizable gaps when their unjabbed employees jump ship in November.

What about other industries?

Care homes are certainly a ‘special case’, but why are employers in different sectors not thinking in the same manner, on a large scale? Almost every organisation will employ individuals on the ‘at risk’ list. The dangers of allowing coronaviruses to spread freely are also discussed often. So why is there no legislation for all employees, regardless of profession?

This is where individual organisations begin to pick and choose their stance on vaccinations. This moral, legal minefield suddenly becomes about protecting individuals who are at risk, and to an extent those who don’t want to be jabbed. Currently, firms across the UK are either ignoring the elephant in the room or demanding that their staff members need to be double jabbed, without much in the way of ramifications if their workers still refuse.

Now that we’ve been told that ‘vaccine passports’ will be a thing, we need to ask if vaccines will create a two-tier system not just when it comes to holidays, theatres and venues, but also at work. Will a candidate with both jabs be chosen over one without? What impact does enforcing a vaccination policy have on culture, morale, and motivation? Take a look at our latest LinkedIn poll to see where opinions lie.

For care homes, the clock is ticking and it’s inevitable that a candidate shortage is just around the corner. It’s also important to realise that there are huge candidate shortages everywhere else, with hospitality duking it out with manufacturing to grab at the best people in a whole new war for talent. This is where an innovative approach, backed up by a solid hiring process, will make a critical difference. What’s your stance on vaccinations? Let me know. Find me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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