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England to introduce mandatory vaccination for frontline NHS staff, effective from 1 April

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced the move today.

MANDATORY COVID-19 VACCINES are to be introduced for frontline NHS and social care workers in England from 1 April next year, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Javid said that the decision was taken following advice from officials and senior management within the NHS.

“I have concluded that all those working in the NHS and social care will have to be vaccinated,” he said. 

Across the UK the overwhelming majority of us have made the positive choice to accept the offer of vaccines against Covid-19, almost eight in every 10 people over the age of 12 have chosen to be double jabbed and over 10 million people have now received their boosters or third jabs.

He added: “The latest figures show that 90% of NHS staff have received at least two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, although in some trusts the figure is closer to 80%.”

Javid told MPs the decision to make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory for NHS staff does not mean the government does not recognise concerns about “workforce pressures” this winter.

Javid also noted the government will not introduce any requirement on flu jabs at this stage, but “we will keep this under review”.

The move will affect the thousands of unvaccinated staff working in the health service.

Care home workers in England have already been told they must be fully vaccinated by the deadline of this Thursday.

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said that if mandatory vaccination for NHS staff is approached in the right way it could actually result in a rise in the take-up of jabs.

He said there are between 80,000 and 100,000 NHS workers in England who are unvaccinated

“If you look at other nations that have done this, there is no doubt that if you do it carefully, at the point when you announce the fact that you are going to have mandatory vaccinations in the sector, it does provide quite a useful opportunity to then have those kind of further conversations,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.

So, if we get it right, actually, it could be quite a useful spur in some senses to drive the take-up up, but the bit that we just need to be careful of, as I said, is avoiding scapegoating people.

Latest figures from NHS England show that almost a quarter (23.3%) of staff working in younger adult care homes and domiciliary care providers have not been reported as having had both jabs as of October 31.

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This is a total of 116,871 staff.

In addition, three-quarters of staff working in other social care settings outside of care homes, including non-registered providers and those employed by local authorities, have had their first jab.

But only about a third were doubled jabbed as of October 31, with 383,760 staff in these settings not doubly vaccinated or reported as so at this point.

Tens of thousands of care home staff were not recorded as having been double jabbed as of October 31, meaning they are set to lose their jobs this week, according to the NHS figures.

Some 60,964 staff had not had a second jab reported as of the end of October, with several thousand of these understood to have self-certified as exempt or applied for official proof.

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