Care workers are being urged to get the booster vaccine to help minimise the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The Scottish Government has announced that financial support will be made available so no care home staff or social care workers will have to lose earnings or use annual leave to get the jag.
Figures show that rates of uptake of the booster vaccine are currently lower among social care staff, with 47.7% of frontline social care workers and 54.8% of care home staff having had their booster, than they are in other sectors such as the 72% of frontline healthcare workers.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf thanked staff for their efforts but said the new Omicron variant made it more important than ever that care workers get their booster vaccinations, test themselves regularly and maintain infection prevention measures.
He said. “I want to thank everyone working in social care who has taken up the offer of vaccination, and has had a booster jag.
“But I want to encourage every single social care worker to get themselves vaccinated. Even if you’ve been double-vaccinated, we know your immunity against Covid-19 wanes over time. Getting your booster is even more important with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Please do so as soon as possible
“I’m very grateful to all our social care workers for their continued resilience and ongoing commitment during what I know continues to be a very difficult time. I know staff are likely to be feeling particularly fatigued after more than 20 months of the pandemic and I want to thank you all for supporting each other and working together as we continue to navigate through this.
“However we know that the rate of take up among those working in care homes and social care is not as high as in other sectors. It is crucial, especially for those working with some of our most vulnerable citizens, that you get your booster if you have not already done so.
“Getting vaccinated is vital in protecting you, those you care for, and your friends and family.”