Ministers to review NHS mandatory vaccine

Ministers to review NHS mandatory vaccine

Ministers are set to meet later today to discuss whether or not to scrap mandatory vaccines for NHS staff.

According to current government policy, front-line NHS workers in England must be fully vaccinated by 1 April, meaning they need a first dose by Thursday.

If they are not jabbed by April, they will be redeployed or dismissed, putting 77,000 unvaccinated NHS staff at risk of losing their jobs.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said last week that the jabs requirement was being “kept under review” but that it was the “duty” of NHS staff to get vaccinated.

He told the Health and Social Care Select Committee on Tuesday that, when the policy was announced, the dominant variant was Delta and it was right to “reflect” now Omicron was dominant.

The Royal College of Midwives has warned that the policy could have a “catastrophic impact” on maternity services.

The Royal College of GPs and Royal College of Nursing also called for the deadline to be delayed.

However, the Department of Health and Social Care has insisted the policy was “the right thing to do to protect patients”.

The UK Health Security Agency says vaccines have proven to be effective against hospitalisation, mortality, infection and transmission.

A recent report said: “Several studies have provided evidence that vaccines are effective at preventing infection.

“Uninfected individuals cannot transmit; therefore, the vaccines are also effective at preventing transmission.”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke told BBC Breakfast that while any change to policy would be a decision for the health secretary, he said “fundamental facts” had changed after scientists discovered that Omicron is less severe than Delta.

Protests have been held in cities across the country and some NHS staff have said they are even considering moving to work in the UK nations where vaccination is not compulsory.

There are no plans in Scotland and Wales to make Covid jabs mandatory for NHS workers or care home staff, but there will be a public consultation on the issue in Northern Ireland.

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.