NHS staff, unless medically exempt, will be required to have the vaccines.
The government has announced today it is considering mandated vaccines for all health and social care workers in England.
A six-week consultation will be launched today, looking at whether requirements should apply for health and wider social care workers: those in contact with patients and people receiving care.
It would mean only those who are fully vaccinated, unless medically exempt, could be deployed to deliver health and care services.
The consultation will also seek views on whether flu vaccines should be a requirement for health and care workers.
The percentage of NHS trust staff who have received one dose of a Covid vaccine is around 92% nationally, with 88% of staff having received both doses
Protecting vulnerable patients.
Earlier this month it was announced that unvaccinated staff at Southampton General Hospital (SGH) would be redeployed.
The government says there is “a longstanding precedent for vaccination requirements in NHS roles”.
Announcing the news, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said; “Many patients being treated in hospitals and other clinical settings are most at risk of suffering serious consequences of COVID-19, and we must do what we can to protect them.
“It’s so clear to see the impact vaccines have against respiratory viruses which can be fatal to the vulnerable, and that’s why we’re exploring mandatory vaccines for both COVID-19 and flu.
“We will consider the responses to the consultation carefully but, whatever happens, I urge the small minority of NHS staff who have not yet been jabbed to consider getting vaccinated – for their own health as well as those around them.”
Not an effective approach.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has previously said it does not support a mandated vaccination for staff. In a position statement, it explains; “We consider this to be best practice and it is enshrined within the NMC code as the right thing to do for professional practice for all registered nurses.
“There are however, serious concerns around mandating vaccines. Like the wider population, health and care staff are a diverse group and there are both physical and societal barriers for some on the take up for the vaccine.
“The RCN do not support staff being made or coerced into having the vaccine.
“Staff vaccination should not be used as part of staff contracts, it should not be a condition of employment or part of employment contracts, linked to terms and conditions of employment or to pay.
“The RCN do not believe that this approach is effective in improving uptake of vaccination in staff.”