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The implementation of compulsory Covid injections prompted some nursing home staff in Barnet to leave their duties, but many are now back at work.

After the government made it mandatory for staff to receive a double injection from November 11, nursing homes in the district reported that fewer than 50 employees had left employment or temporarily stopped working while waiting to receive their second dose.

Most of the staff who temporarily stopped working have now returned, which was described as a “significant achievement” in a report presented to the adults and protection committee on Tuesday.

When the government published compulsory vaccination rules in August, Barnet nursing homes reported that 750 employees were not fully vaccinated.

Despite these assurances, Lisa Rutter, a Conservative councilor for Brunswick Park, raised concerns about staffing levels at one of the borough’s nursing homes, where she said nearly all staff were out of work after contracting Covid.

She told the meeting: “There are two managers, and they are working day and night trying to figure this out.”

In response, Dawn Wakeling, executive director of adults and health, said people could still test positive for the virus despite being fully vaccinated. He added that the district was experiencing “increased levels of positive covid status” but this was related to high rates of community transmission, particularly of the Omicron variant, rather than vaccination status or infection control measures.

Between January 1, 2020 and June 27, 2021, there were 145 deaths in Barnet nursing homes related to Covid-19, according to data published separately by the council. The figure represents 15.2 per cent of all Barnet deaths attributed to the virus during this period.

The number of nursing home deaths related to the virus dropped significantly after the vaccine was launched.

According to the council’s report, nursing homes updated their plans before the regulations came into force to ensure that the continuity of the service was not affected. To support this, the council set up a borough-wide recruitment drive for the care sector and funded a £200 recruitment incentive payment for new entrants.

Efforts are now underway to ensure the wider social care sector gets a double whammy before the government’s April 1 deadline.

Data published on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard shows that 46.2 per cent of people over the age of 12 living in Barnet have either been boosted or received a third dose.

Just under two-thirds are double vaccinated, while around 28 percent have yet to receive any dose of the Covid vaccine.

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