CARE home staff will be required by law to receive a Covid-19 vaccination under new Government plans – as figures reveal one in five workers in Bolton have not yet had a first dose.

A five-week consultation on mandatory jabs has been launched following concerns about whether enough carers have been jabbed to stop the virus spreading to residents.

The move has provoked criticism from trade union Unison which said mandatory vaccinations could ‘backfire’ and lead to a staffing shortage.

In Bolton, 1,557 out of 1,938 eligible staff, including agency workers, at older adult care homes had received a first dose by April 11, according to latest NHS figures – meaning 20 per cent have not had a jab.

The unvaccinated proportion has barely changed from last month, when it was 21 per cent.

And the area is just meeting recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) which state four in five staff need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against outbreaks.

Cllr Andy Morgan, executive cabinet member for adult services, said: "We have the second highest rate in Greater Manchester for getting care home staff vaccinated.

"But we would encourage everyone who works in the care setting to take advantage of the priority status that they have been given.

"It will protect themselves and their families, as well as the patients that they have a duty to look after."

Across the North West, 17 per cent of eligible care home workers had not been vaccinated by April 11 - lower than the national average of 21 per cent.

Dr Helen Wall, senior responsible officer for the vaccination programme in Bolton, said: "More than 80 per cent of care home staff have received their vaccination and we continue to work closely with homes to ensure their remaining staff have access to the vaccine.

"There are many reasons why someone might not have had their vaccination yet, including staff sickness and working patterns.

"However, we are encouraging care home staff to take advantage of the Bolton Vaccination Bus and jump on board when it is situated near to where they work.

"The main ethos of the bus is to take the vaccine into communities where they might struggle to access a vaccination centre or book an appointment."