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9th November, 2021

Mandatory for frontline NHS staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

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Following a 6-week period of consultation by the Government, it will now be mandatory for frontline NHS staff in England to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

It comes with a deadline being set for all staff to be double jabbed, assumably subject to exemptions, by the 1st April 2022.

At the beginning of the consultation in September 2021, more than 92% of frontline NHS staff were reported to have had their first dose of the vaccine and 89% were fully vaccinated, however the number of unvaccinated NHS workers in England was still between 80,000 and 100,000.

In the months leading up to today’s announcement, Health Secretary Sajid Javid referred to the mandatory requirements in the social care sector and how the uptake on vaccinations ‘absolutely surged’ after they were made compulsory. As the daily Covid case numbers continue to increase, he stated that he thought making NHS staff vaccinations mandatory was the right thing to do to protect both staff and patients.

Vaccination requirements are already compulsory in some NHS roles, such as surgeons who engage in exposure-prone procedures having to have had the Hepatitis B vaccine.

The full details of the mandatory requirement are yet to be released, however the Government consultation also considered whether requirements should apply for health and wider social care workers: those in contact with patients and people receiving care. It would therefore mean only those who are fully vaccinated, unless medically exempt, could be deployed to deliver health and care services.

There are however growing concerns regarding the number of NHS staff who may leave their position due to the vaccine requirement. Furthermore, union officials have also expressed their view that bringing in mandatory requirements are ‘risky’ and that the NHS should try and be persuaded to get jabbed, rather than enforcing a law against them to do so.

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