The Health Secretary argued workers have a ‘duty of care’ to elderly residents because they are most at risk of dying from the virus.
Department of Health chiefs will test the water on the controversial move, launching a five-week consultation on the proposal.
Mr Hancock said industry bosses have called for ‘no jab, no job’ policies and that the jabs were ‘our route out of this pandemic’.
But, following the announcement, England’s care chief claimed the industry was still ‘divided’ over the controversial scheme, which was first leaked three weeks ago.
NHS workers will not be included in the latest plans but critics have warned they could set a dangerous precedent.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman previously accepted it would be ‘discriminatory’ to force anyone to be vaccinated.
NHS England figures show more than a fifth of care home workers are still to come forward for their jab, the equivalent of nearly 100,000. More than a quarter of all Covid deaths have been care home residents.
Ministers will try to make coronavirus vaccines compulsory for care home staff, Matt Hancock confirmed today
Britain’s Covid jab rollout has been an undoubted success, with more than 32million people given their first dose by April 12. But uptake has been poorer in care home workers. About 100,000 staff in England have not come forward for their jab
Martin Green, chief of Care England, said: ‘We have been really impressed how care providers have worked with their staff to listen to their concerns about the vaccine and this has had a very positive effect with a good take up.
‘The sector is divided on whether or not vaccination should be mandatory but it is wholly united in its support for the vaccine and has done everything it can to persuade it’s residents and staff to have it.
‘Should the vaccine be mandatory for adult social care staff it begs the question whether it should not be mandatory for the NHS too.’
Others raised concerns that people who have valid reasons not to take the jab would be discriminated against.
Kelly Andrews, organiser at the GMB workers’ union, said: ‘Mandating vaccination is an incredibly bad idea.
‘There will undoubtedly be care workers who cannot receive the vaccine due to health or pregnancy reasons, and they will be left outside of the scope of the scheme.’
She claimed many staff on zero hours contracts were refusing the vaccine because they feared missing out on shifts due to mild side effects.
She added: ‘This policy would be the thin end of the wedge and could lead to employers in other sectors demanding the same approach which would have profound consequences for human rights and employment rights.
‘The UK Government needs to get a grip after showing a complete failure to understand the real needs of the sector and its workers. They have been badly let down during this pandemic.’
Staff in care homes in the UK have been able to come forward for a vaccine since the programme launched in December.
They were considered one of the highest priority groups due to their interactions with elderly and frail residents, who are most likely to die from Covid.