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Mandatory vaccination: we’ll keep it under review, says minister

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid insists COVID-19 policy will respond to new COVID variants, and it is every health worker’s duty to be vaccinated

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid insists COVID-19 policy will be responsive to new COVID variants, and it is every nurse’s duty to be vaccinated

The requirement for patient-facing nursing and other NHS staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be kept under review, the health and social care secretary said.

Sajid Javid told the Commons health and social care committee yesterday it is the professional duty of every NHS worker to be vaccinated but added it was right to keep COVID-19 policies under review.

‘It is right in light of Omicron that we reflect on all this and keep all COVID policies properly

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid insists COVID-19 policy will be responsive to new COVID variants, and it is every nurse’s duty to be vaccinated

England’s health and social care secretary Sajid Javid speaking to a committee of MPs in Westminster Picture: Parliament TV

The requirement for patient-facing nursing and other NHS staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be kept under review, the health and social care secretary said.

Sajid Javid told the Commons health and social care committee yesterday it is the professional duty of every NHS worker to be vaccinated but added it was right to keep COVID-19 policies under review.

‘It is right in light of Omicron that we reflect on all this and keep all COVID policies properly under review because Omicron is different to Delta, equally we don’t know what the next variant is going to be, but we are reflecting on all this,’ he said.

An issues of patient safety

Mr Javid said patient safety was the main reason for the mandate, with 100,000 NHS workers coming forward for the vaccine since it was announced.

He added 95% of NHS workers have now had at least one dose, but around 77,000 remain unvaccinated.

‘It’s reasonable to assume not everyone ultimately is going to come forward,’ he acknowledged.

‘Mandatory vaccination would lead to reckless loss of nursing staff’

Health unions including the RCN, which is encouraging voluntary approach to nurse vaccination, want the 1 April deadline for front-line staff having two vaccine doses to be deferred. To comply, a first dose would need to be received by 3 February.

RCN England director Patricia Marquis said: ‘Mandatory vaccination is not the answer and sacking valued nursing staff during a workforce crisis is reckless.’

NHS England and NHS Improvement has issued guidance on redeployment or dismissal of staff who are not fully vaccinated by the deadline.

And on Monday, the Department of Health and Social Care scotched suggestions ministers were considering an eleventh-hour delay, insisting there are no plans to do so.


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