Covid jabs WILL be compulsory for NHS staff

Covid jabs WILL be compulsory for NHS staff

09/09/2021

Covid jabs WILL be compulsory for NHS staff: Vaccines will be a condition of employment for 1.2 million frontline workers and those who refuse could lose their jobs – but bosses fear it could trigger a staffing crisis

  • The 1.2million frontline NHS staff are expected to have to get the vaccine
  • But any compulsory order on having the coronavirus jab could be controversial
  • Bosses have said they are worried it could put off new recruits or current staff 
  • Sajid Javid has already urged all health and social care staff to get vaccination 

NHS workers will have to get the Covid jab under new plans from the government.  

The 1.2 million frontline NHS staff will be required by law to be jabbed under plans to reduce transmission in hospitals.

The government will today publish a consultation on plans to make having both jabs a condition of employment, The Times reported.

Those who refuse the jab will reportedly be barred from working with patients, meaning that they will likely be redeployed or risk losing their jobs.

The move comes despite fears among NHS bosses it could trigger a staffing crisis, hampering efforts to tackle the enormous care backlog.

They have also warned it could be discriminatory, as vaccine uptake is lower in some ethnic minority groups.

The NHS confederation, which represents organisations in the health service, has argued that compulsory vaccination is unnecessary because NHS staff are ‘overwhelmingly doing the right thing’.

Official figures show that 8 per cent of NHS workers, roughly 116,717 people, have not received their first dose. In London, the figure is 14 per cent.

The 1.2million frontline NHS staff are expected to have to get the coronavirus vaccine

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has already urged all health and social care staff to be vaccinated

It comes after the Government announced vaccinations will be compulsory for all care workers from November 11, despite warnings that tens of thousands of carers could leave the profession as a result.

A government source told The Times: ‘It’s only right that those who are caring for people who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus should be vaccinated. This will save lives.’ They added that Boris Johnson had personally backed the plan for mandatory vaccination for NHS workers.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday the move was ‘right and responsible’ as NHS staff looking after vulnerable patients have a ‘duty of care’ to get inoculated.

Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the Council of the British Medical Association, said in June that ‘compulsion is a blunt instrument’ and that implementing a blanket rule would ‘raise new ethical and legal implications’. 

The six-week consultation process will take views on whether vaccine requirements should apply for health and wider social care workers – those in contact with patients and people receiving care.

It would mean only those who are fully vaccinated, unless medically exempt, could be deployed to deliver health and care services.

Do we need to jab kids too? Scotland’s school outbreak ‘has already peaked’

Covid cases among children in Scotland may already be falling just weeks after schools went back and sparked a fresh wave of infections, in an encouraging sign for the rest of the UK.

Public Health Scotland data suggest Covid cases among under-14s peaked at 1,943 on September 1 after rising consistently for three weeks when classes resumed north of the border.

Infections in the age group fell in the following three days and have hovered at almost 1,500 since. 

There was huge concern across the UK when Scotland’s cases rocketed almost three-fold after schools went back in mid-August.

It reignited the debate about whether children aged 12 to 15 should be routinely vaccinated against Covid to keep transmission low and avoid a delayed winter peak. 

Professor Chris Whitty and the other chief medical officers are currently weighing up whether to offer jabs to 12 to 15-year-olds, after the Government’s vaccine advisers said the shots only offered a marginal benefit to their health.

Professor Whitty — who said over summer he would be in favour of jabbing kids to prevent more school closures — is expected to OK the move on Friday. 

The Government previously said all staff in registered care homes in England must be vaccinated against Covid-19 from November 11, unless medically exempt.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) Social Care Working Group has already advised the overlap between the sectors makes a strong scientific case for there to be similar approaches to vaccination.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the consultation would focus on the proposals, their scope, and any potential impact mandating vaccines could have on staffing and safety such as reducing staff sickness absence.

The process will also seek views on whether flu vaccines should be a requirement for health and care workers.

Findings will then help inform decision-making around how the mandate could be implemented and who could be exempt.

Staff, healthcare providers, stakeholders, patients and their families are being urged to take part, with a final decision expected this winter.

According to the DHSC, around 92% of NHS trust staff have received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, with 88% of staff having received both doses.

However, the DHSC says new data shows uptake rates between NHS trusts can vary from around 78% to 94% for both doses.

National flu vaccination rates in the health service have increased from 14% in 2002 to 76% last year. But in some settings, rates are as low as 53%.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged all health and social care staff to be vaccinated, regardless of the outcome of the consultation.

He said: ‘Many patients being treated in hospitals and other clinical settings are most at risk of suffering serious consequences of Covid-19, and we must do what we can to protect them.

‘It’s so clear to see the impact vaccines have against respiratory viruses which can be fatal to the vulnerable, and that’s why we’re exploring mandatory vaccines for both Covid-19 and flu.

‘We will consider the responses to the consultation carefully but, whatever happens, I urge the small minority of NHS staff who have not yet been jabbed to consider getting vaccinated – for their own health as well as those around them.’

The care industry has previously expressed concern over the effect mandatory vaccination may have on the sector’s already-stretched staffing levels.

Last month, the Institute of Health and Social Care Management (IHSCM) surveyed more than 1,000 care managers in partnership with the PA news agency.

The survey found that nine in 10 managers said their workplace was experiencing staff shortages or having difficulty recruiting.

A third of managers (32.8%) said they had staff quit or hand in their notice over the requirement to be vaccinated, while more than half (55.2%) said they feared they would have to dismiss staff over the coming months because they had not been vaccinated.

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