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NHS nurse COVID jabs: is compulsory vaccination getting closer?

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid signals willingness to press ahead with mandatory coronavirus vaccination for NHS nursing staff– it’s a patient safety issue, he says
Healthcare worker receives her coronavirus jab as compulsory vaccination for NHS staff seems to move a step closer

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid signals willingness to press ahead with mandatory coronavirus vaccination for NHS nursing staff – it’s a patient safety issue, he says

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said he is ‘leaning towards’ mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all nurses and other NHS staff in England.

Mr Javid said he had not yet made a final decision but the move would mean the situation for NHS staff in England is broadly in line with the requirement for care home staff.

Vaccinating staff is a patient safety issue – health and social care secretary

Unions have warned the policy could alienate staff and exacerbate workforce shortages. However, Mr Javid said

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid signals willingness to press ahead with mandatory coronavirus vaccination for NHS nursing staff – it’s a patient safety issue, he says

Healthcare worker receives her coronavirus jab as compulsory vaccination for NHS staff seems to move a step closer
Picture: Alamy

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said he is ‘leaning towards’ mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all nurses and other NHS staff in England.

Mr Javid said he had not yet made a final decision but the move would mean the situation for NHS staff in England is broadly in line with the requirement for care home staff.

Vaccinating staff is a patient safety issue – health and social care secretary

Unions have warned the policy could alienate staff and exacerbate workforce shortages. However, Mr Javid said the presence of unvaccinated staff was a patient safety issue, as he set out why he favoured mandatory jabs.

‘I’m leaning towards doing it,’ he told Sky News on Monday.

‘There’s around 100,000 that are not [vaccinated in the NHS] at this point but what we saw with the care sector is that when we announced the policy we saw many more people come forward and do the right thing and get vaccinated. That’s what I hope we can do with the NHS.

‘If they haven’t got vaccinated by now then there is an issue about patient safety and that’s something the government will take seriously.’

Timeframe for compulsory vaccinations unclear

Sajid Javid Picture: Wikimedia Commons

From 11 November, anyone working or volunteering in a care home will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless medically exempt.

A six-week consultation on whether all health and social care staff in direct contact with patients should have COVID-19 and flu vaccines closed on 22 October.

Mr Javid declined to say when such a move could come into force, saying it would take some time to get it through parliament and he would want to give people time to come forward to get their jab.

‘I don’t want to put a timeframe on it but it wouldn’t be months and months’, he added.

RCN policy on increasing vaccine uptake

The RCN believes making the vaccine easily available and encouraging all nursing staff to have it is the best way to boost uptake.

NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance issued in March this year said trusts can consider moving staff who do not wish to be vaccinated to ‘less exposure-prone settings’.

Some organisations have already redeployed staff who decline the COVID-19 vaccine.


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