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MPs back compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations for front-line NHS nurses

Government’s Plan B restrictions include mandatory vaccinations for nurses and other front-line staff in England, which will come into force in April 2022
Picture shows a vaccination being carried out

Government’s Plan B restrictions include mandatory vaccinations for nurses and other front-line staff in England, which will come into force in April 2022

MPs have voted to impose mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for nurses and other front-line NHS staff in England.

The House of Commons voted 385 to 100 – a majority of 285 – to require compulsory jabs after debating the government’s Plan B restrictions on Tuesday night. It means all patient-facing NHS staff will now be legally required to have the vaccine by April 2022 to continue working in patient-facing roles.

RCN says NHS employers should continue engaging with nurses who have not had the jab

GMB national secretary Rehana Azam labelled the move heavy-handed and warned it

Government’s Plan B restrictions include mandatory vaccinations for nurses and other front-line staff in England, which will come into force in April 2022

Picture shows a vaccination being carried out
Picture: Alamy

MPs have voted to impose mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for nurses and other front-line NHS staff in England.

The House of Commons voted 385 to 100 – a majority of 285 – to require compulsory jabs after debating the government’s Plan B restrictions on Tuesday night. It means all patient-facing NHS staff will now be legally required to have the vaccine by April 2022 to continue working in patient-facing roles.

RCN says NHS employers should continue engaging with nurses who have not had the jab

GMB national secretary Rehana Azam labelled the move heavy-handed and warned it could worsen NHS staff shortages. ‘Against the backdrop of COVID, there is a cost-of-living crisis, key services face an understaffing crisis, and the people delivering them are enduring a wage crisis,’ she said.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen has previously said NHS employers should use the time to April 2022 to continue engaging with nurses who have not had the jab.

Only staff who are medically exempt and those who do not have face-to-face patient contact will not be required to get the jabs to remain in post.

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid announced the move towards mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for nurses and other NHS staff in November.

Following the announcement, a House of Lords scrutiny committee found there was no evidence that the benefits of compulsory COVID-19 jabs outweighed the expected risks to the NHS workforce, warning it could cost thousands of jobs.

Thousands could lose their jobs for declining the vaccine

The committee said in a report that the government’s plan to make vaccination mandatory for nurses and other front-line staff lacked clarity.

Figures provided to the committee by the Department of Health and Social Care suggest that of the 208,000 unvaccinated NHS staff, some 126,000 (61%) could lose their jobs for declining the vaccine.

The committee found that mandatory vaccinations could cost £270 million in extra recruitment and cause major disruption to the NHS.

Care home staff in England have been required to have both doses of the vaccine since 11 November. Following the deadline thousands of care home staff were left unable to go to work, prompting warnings of a staffing crisis that could result in care home closures.


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