MORE than a quarter of Southampton care home staff are not vaccinated against Covid-19, new data has shown.

NHS figures show that 910 out of 1,278 eligible care home staff had received a first dose by April 11, meaning 29 per cent are still yet to get a jab.

This is a reduction of three per cent from March 11 when 32 per cent of staff were still yet to be vaccinated.

In the rest of Hampshire 12,057 out of 14,372 eligible staff, including agency workers, at older adult care homes had received a first dose by April 11, according to latest NHS figures – meaning 16% have not had a jab.

Now though, staff could be required by law to get their vaccination under new plans by the government having launched a five-week consultation on mandatory jabs.

MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith, described the figures as “alarming” adding: “I don’t think people should be forced to have the vaccine, but if you are working with extremely vulnerable people, it’s not unreasonable that you should be asked.

“If somebody doesn’t think that is something they would want to do then I wonder if they are in the right place.”

The plan would see older adult care home operators only able to use staff who have been vaccinated but the move has provoked criticism from trade union Unison.

General secretary, Christina McAnea, said: “Too heavy-handed an approach could backfire. Some staff may simply up and go.”

Director of Public Health at Southampton City Council, Dr Debbie Chase said: “It is important that all care staff take up their offer of a free COVID-19 vaccine.

“The vaccination programme has care home employees as a priority cohort with the aim to help keep themselves, their loved ones and the people they work with and care for safe.”

A spokesperson from Care home provider, Anchor Hanover, which runs Southampton’s Mayflower Court Care Home, welcomed the fact that care providers are being asked to provide a response as part of the consultation.

“To date, by focusing significant effort on sharing information about the COVID-19 vaccines with our care teams, most of our colleagues have chosen to have it. We continue to encourage all colleagues working in our care locations to be vaccinated.”