CARE workers are being urged to get their Covid-19 booster jab because providers fear the worst of the Omicron variant is still to come.
Provider organisation The Independent Care Group (ICG) said care staff needed the booster to protect themselves and the people they care for.
ICG chair, Mike Padgham, said: “My fear is that the peak of the Omicron Covid-19 variant is yet to be felt in care settings and we need care workers to get the best protection they can as soon as they can.
“Many already have but to those that haven’t, I would say, please do so as soon as possible, to ensure you stay healthy and the people you care for stay healthy too.”
The ICG has sent a message out to its membership, urging them to ensure their staff have had all of their injections.
“We look after some of the most vulnerable sections of society and we have a duty to ensure that our staff have the best protection available to them,” Mr Padgham added.
“Cases in care and nursing homes and at domiciliary care providers are growing by the day and putting pressure on those providers to keep giving the best in care.
“We have appealed to the Government for more support but in the meantime, we have to do everything we can to protect our staff and those we care for.”
Mr Padgham has called for the Government to set up an emergency army of volunteers to step in and help in care settings.
He wrote to Secretary of State Sajid Javid, saying: “The staffing situation is now at the worst it has been throughout the pandemic and I can only see it getting worse.
“The rapid spread of the omicron variant means more and more nursing home, care home and homecare staff are contracting Covid-19 and having to be off work and self-isolate. This is leaving those care providers chronically short of staff at a time when they most need to be fully staffed.
“As you know, we need a fully functioning social care sector to ensure that NHS hospital care can function effectively and not be overwhelmed because people cannot be discharged to care settings.
“At the moment that cannot be guaranteed and I fear the setting up of surge hubs is not a long-term solution as they too will be struggling for staff.
I repeat my belief that we need the Government to quickly establish a volunteer task force to ease the crisis and ensure we can get through the winter.
“This would draw upon retired nurses, doctors, and carers, to help out. This would need to be done quickly so that they can be DBS checked and trained before winter pushes us beyond tipping point.”