Care home workers are being given 16 weeks to get fully vaccinated from the time new legislation is approved by Parliament and health secretary Matt Hancock said the move, set to take effect from October, was aimed at protecting the most vulnerable from the virus.
NHS figures show that, in Northumberland, 375 out of 3,319 eligible staff, including agency workers, at older adult care homes had not received a first dose by June 13 – 11% of all those eligible for the vaccine.
That proportion has fallen slightly from April 11 – soon after plans for mandatory vaccinations first emerged – when 13% were unvaccinated.
Nationally, 16% of care home staff have not had a first vaccination.
The decision to make jabs for care home staff compulsory followed a five-week consultation.
Mr Hancock said “Vaccines save lives and while staff and residents in care homes have been prioritised and the majority are now vaccinated we need to do everything we can to keep reducing the risk.”
But the approach has disappointed some leaders in the care sector.
Nadra Ahmed, chief executive of the National Care Association, said: "I don't know why the Government can't carry on persuading people to have the vaccine rather than creating a legislative pathway which is so oppressive.
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “The Government’s sledgehammer approach now runs the risk that some care staff may simply walk away.”