The Scottish Government has said it will not follow Westminster's plans to force carers to have the jab
Care home staff in Scotland will not be forced to get the coronavirus vaccine, the Scottish Government has said.
It comes as the UK government is set to announce that workers in England must be required to get jabbed.
However a similar policy will not be introduced in Scotland. The uptake of the Covid jab among care home staff in Scotland has been high since the programme was rolled out, with Public Health Scotland data revealing a total of 50,380 care home staff have been fully vaccinated.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Vaccination remains critical in the fight against Covid-19 and health and social care workers have been among those prioritised for the vaccine, with the overwhelming majority taking it up.
"The response from care home staff in Scotland to the call to take up their vaccinations has been fantastic. Uptake has been exceptionally high, and the total number of staff who have had both doses of the vaccine actually exceeds the originally projected cohort.
"We’ve worked with the care home sector and staff to engage with them and discuss any concerns they had. The result of listening and engaging positively with the workforce has been the exceptionally high levels of care home staff vaccination in Scotland.
"We currently have no plans to make vaccinations mandatory for health and social care staff as it’s clear that these caring staff in Scotland are overwhelmingly making the choice to be vaccinated to protect themselves and their residents.
"We will continue to keep this position under review."
Under the plans in England, staff working with adults will be given 16 weeks to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs, reports have claimed.
A spokesperson for Unison Scotland said: “Vaccinations are the way out of this pandemic, but forcing staff to get jabbed is counter-productive.
“In Scotland, there is an agreement in place between the STUC and the Scottish Government that vaccinations will be voluntary, and that take-up should be encouraged by reassuring and educating people on the benefits of vaccination.
“The care sector is facing huge staff shortages. This already dire situation will only get worse if employees feel coerced and unsupported.”
Scottish Care, the body representing independent care providers in Scotland, says such a mandate from the UK government has “little relevance” for Scotland where efforts have been ploughed into encouraging voluntary participation in the vaccine programme and virtually all staff have now been vaccinated.
A spokesperson said: “The Scottish approach to date has been one of close partnership working between the sector, the NHS and the Scottish government.
“We have sought to develop a policy and practice of information and encouragement rather than mandating and instructing.”