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Two Thirds Of Agency Nursing Staff Still Waiting For Second Covid Jab

  • April 12, 2021

Nursing staff working outside the NHS are half as likely to have received a full coronavirus vaccine dose as their NHS colleagues, a new study reveals.

Just under a third of agency staff have been given both of their jabs, compared with two-thirds of permanent staff, according to the survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) of 20,000 members.

It also found that 5.6% of agency nursing professionals (one in 18) have not been offered a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, compared with only 1.3% of permanent staff (one in 77).

Frontline health and social care workers, who are second on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority list alongside people aged 80 and over, should have all received an invitation to receive a second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by now.

Vaccinations for people in the top two priority groups began in December. People next on the list, those aged over 75, were invited from early January. On February 14, the government said it had offered all 15m people in the top four priority groups their first dose.

Latest figures published by the government show more than 7.4m people have received their second dose and more than 32m people have received a first dose. More than 32m doses should be enough to cover everyone in the UK over the age of 50, all health and care workers and those with pre-existing conditions.

But the survey revealed that as of April 6, only 94% of nursing staff have actually received at least one dose of a vaccine and 62% had received both doses.

Nearly half (46%) of nursing staff outside of the NHS, including permanent employees in non-NHS settings such as care homes, were still waiting for their second jab, compared to just under 24% of those working in the NHS.

The most worrying finding was that about one in 50 members reported having not been offered a vaccine at all. Those included nursing staff who work in hospitals, care homes and in the community, the RCN said. 

The results were an improvement from a previous survey conducted in February, which found “a concerning disparity” between vaccination rates among NHS and non-NHS staff, with non-NHS staff accounting for 70% of the nursing staff who had yet to be vaccinated.

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