NHS Staff In England Must Be Fully Vaccinated By April 2022, Sajid Javid Confirms
Ian Forsyth via Getty ImagesNHS staff must all get vaccinated, according to the government’s latest announcement
The health secretary Sajid Javid has announced that NHS staff in England will have to get fully vaccinated against Covid.
The cabinet minister said he “intends” for this to start for all of the 1.2 million full-time staff in England from April 1, 2022.
The news follows a consultation which began in September and considered making Covid vaccines compulsory for health workers.
NHS staff who are not in direct contact with patients will not have to get mandatory vaccines, and those who have certain medical conditions will be exempt.
Javid added that one-to-one conversations will be held with unvaccinated NHS staff to make it “as easy as possible” to get the jab without making anyone “scapegoated, singled out or shamed”.
Each of the four UK nations will make their own decisions on the matter.
NHS officials explained ahead of the announcement that they were expecting it – and expressed hope that, if approached in the right way, it could actually encourage vaccine uptake rather than trigger people to leave the health service.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said there are between 80,000 and 100,000 unvaccinated NHS workers in England.
He told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Tuesday: “If you look at other nations that have done this, there is no doubt that if you do it carefully, at the point when you announce the fact that you are going to have mandatory vaccinations in the sector, it does provide quite a useful opportunity to then have those kind of further conversations.
“So, if we get it right, actually, it could be quite a useful spur in some sense to drive the take-up, but the bit that we just need to be careful of, as I said, is avoiding scapegoating people.”
NHS England stats reveal 23.3% of staff in younger adult care homes and domiciliary care providers have not been jabbed at all and only a third had been double jabbed by October 31.
If any care home workers are not double-jabbed by this Thursday, they will lose their jobs.
Care groups tried calling for daily testing to be introduced instead and warned that the NHS might face the same staffing crisis as the care home industry.
Ahead of Javid’s announcement, Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: “Mandatory jabs in social care have prompted an unprecedented staffing crisis. The government should be careful not to make the same mistake twice [with the NHS].”
Hopson also pointed out that there are already between 90,000 and 100,000 vacancies in both the care sector and the NHS.
He added: “Losing significant numbers of staff, particularly given the pressure that both of the systems are under at the moment is a real, real problem.”
He told Sky News: “Those fantastic people working in the NHS are naturally more vulnerable to being exposed to diseases and viruses – and that includes Covid – but also the people they are looking after so well are naturally vulnerable, so it’s about looking after them as well and giving them the protection they deserve.”