Mandatory Covid vaccines have been axed for NHS and care staff, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed this week.
The rule was set to be enforced from April, meaning that if staff hadn’t had their first dose by this Friday (February 11) they would not be double jabbed in time.
Downing Street previously said Boris Johnson and Mr Javid reflected on the policy as it was introduced when the Delta variant was the dominant strain.
Mr Javid told the Commons on Monday (January 31): “Given the Delta has been replaced it’s only right that our policy on vaccination as a condition of deployment is reviewed.”
Do you think the coronavirus vaccine should be compulsory for NHS and social care staff? And would you take a fourth jab if it were recommended? Have your say in our survey below…
He added: “I believe it is no longer proportionate to require vaccination as a condition of employment through statute.
“We will launch a consultation on ending vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and all social care settings.
“Subject to the responses, and the will of this House, the government will revoke the regulations.”
Our readers have been debating the issue over on our Facebook page.
One said: “Yes , duty of care to patients and clients , that’s what we are trained for”
Another agreed: “Of course. Nobody is complaining about the other mandatory vaccinations that health care workers need to have.”
A third said however: “No, should be individual choice”
And a fourth pointed out: “Each to their own. To be honest I am getting fed up with this all now”
Senior NHS sources were reportedly worried about the looming policy given some regions across the UK had a very low vaccine uptake.
For example, in London, just 69% have had their first dose of the Covid jab with 44% having had their booster dose, The Mirror reports.
What are your views on the rumbling vaccine debate? Let us know in the comments section below.
And the latest figures from NHS England show that 127,515 NHS and domiciliary care staff working in registered settings had not had a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine as of January 23.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said he welcomes Mr Javid’s announcement but called on him to continue his efforts to improve vaccine hesitancy.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed his fears with the removal of the policy.
Mr Hunt told the Commons: “Frontline workers have done an extraordinary job in this pandemic but I have yet to meet a single one that believes that anyone in contact with patients has a right to put them to increased risk by not having a vaccine unless there is a medical exemption.”
Within this sector the policy was introduced back in November, and around 40,000 people lost their jobs.
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