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What effect would mandatory COVID-19 vaccination have on the nurse workforce?

Staff have a duty of care, but this step could lead to resentment and walk-outs, readers say

Staff have a duty to protect patients, but mandatory jabs could lead to resentment and walk-outs, readers say

A six-week consultation on whether COVID-19 and flu vaccinations should be mandatory for all front-line NHS staff in England is underway – and health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has said the policy change is ‘highly likely’.

But how will the nursing workforce react to such a mandate? Nursing Standard readers have their say.

Jandryle Trondillo is deputy home manager at Caring Homes Group @jaytrondillo

Protecting ourselves as nurses is as important

Staff have a duty to protect patients, but mandatory jabs could lead to resentment and walk-outs, readers say

Picture: Alamy

A six-week consultation on whether COVID-19 and flu vaccinations should be mandatory for all front-line NHS staff in England is underway – and health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has said the policy change is ‘highly likely’.

But how will the nursing workforce react to such a mandate? Nursing Standard readers have their say.


Jandryle Trondillo is deputy home manager at Caring Homes Group
@jaytrondillo

Protecting ourselves as nurses is as important as protecting the people we care for at work.

As a nurse working with the most vulnerable adults in society, I do not see any problem with making vaccination mandatory. It is a sensible measure to keep everybody safe.

I have seen how catastrophic COVID-19 was last year, and we now have the opportunity to change that.

This mandate might affect staff morale but we all have to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and work together to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and stop people from dying.


Danny Shilling is a second-year nursing student at Birmingham City University
@STNDanny

Healthcare professionals must protect patients. It’s part of the nursing code of practice.

Scientific evidence and research shows the vaccine helps reduce the risk of transmission, severe symptoms and variants of COVID-19.

Having witnessed the impact of not being vaccinated in patients who have contracted the virus, I would advocate for all nurses to be vaccinated, unless medically exempt.

However, making vaccination mandatory is likely to result in a backlash from staff.

Taking away individual freedom of choice will cause upset and resentment, and will further damage an already fragile health service, creating more staff shortages and, ultimately, affecting patient care.


Liz Charalambous is a teaching associate at the University of Nottingham
@lizcharalambou

Current rhetoric on social media from anti-vaxxers, particularly around threats to nurses’ safety, is worrying, and steps should be taken to protect staff.

The issue is quickly becoming highly politicised. However, nurses are used to having vaccinations as part of occupational health assessments when they enter the profession.

Many understand the need for protection against COVID-19 and welcome this, but a ‘top-down’ approach is often unhelpful when leading change.

Making COVID vaccines mandatory is a sensible option but should be carefully handled so staff do not feel alienated and dictated to, which may further demoralise some staff who might potentially leave the profession.


Drew Payne is a community nurse in London
@drew_london

Mandatory vaccination is not a new concept in the UK and vaccination for nurses is a public health matter, necessary to protect our patients and the NHS workforce.

Sadly, vaccinations have become the target of fake science and plain lies.

Statistically, I’d imagine the vast majority of nurses are already COVID-19 vaccinated, given that 90% of the UK’s adult population has been vaccinated.

If even a small number of nurses refuse vaccination, this will be turned into ‘victory’ by the anti-vaccination lobby.

But, ultimately, I’d worry about any nurse refusing the COVID-19 vaccination – why are they refusing evidence-based practice?


Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only

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