Healthcare workers have a “collective duty” to protect patients and “to lead by example”.
Nursing staff in England have told they should “lead by example” in having one of the new Covid-19 vaccines.
In an open letter to all frontline health and social care workers, NHS England reminded them of their “collective duty” to protect patients and “to lead by example” in having the Covid-19 vaccine.
The letter is signed by NHS England’s heads of Nursing, Pharmacy, Medicine, Midwifery, Dental, Social Care and Science.
In a survey of 387 frontline nurses, undertaken by NursingNotes, only a quarter said they have either already recieved the first dose of the vaccine or had an appointment scheduled. The most common reason for this (89%) was a lack of appointments of availability of the vaccine in their practice area. Just 2% said they planned to opt-out completely due to concerns over the long-term side effects of the vaccine.
The letter comes amid ongoing concern from senior doctors and nurses that a change to the recommending dosing schedule could affect the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy.
It reads; “As a colleague working in frontline health or social care – including those working in the independent and voluntary sector, contracted services, and students and trainees on placements – you are at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19, which is why you are among the first groups to be offered the vaccine.
“The NHS is working hard to offer vaccines to everyone in this group over the coming weeks and we strongly encourage you to take up this opportunity to be vaccinated as soon as you are offered it.
“Ensuring our fantastic staff are kept safe is an extremely high priority for us, but in addition to that, by getting the vaccine you can protect yourself from the virus so you can continue to be there for your family, friends, and those you care for.
The letter goes on to talk about the strict approval process for vaccines and continues; “Your employer or a local vaccination team will make arrangements to ensure 100% of eligible staff are able to get vaccinated.”
“The vaccine is our best defence against this virus, and the key to a return to normal life. It is important to remember that until more people are vaccinated, and the virus is in retreat, we must maintain our efforts to keep ourselves and those we work with safe. Even if you have been vaccinated, it is crucial that we all continue to follow all of the guidance on preventing the spread of the virus in the workplace, and outside of it.
“As people who work directly with some of those who are most vulnerable, we have a collective duty both to protect ourselves for their sake, and to lead by example.