The government is ‘reflecting’ on requiring NHS staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said.
Around 77,000 NHS workers remain unvaccinated, a figure that Mr Javid said was improving. Trusts have been asked to set out how many staff they expect will not come forward, and what their roles are, in order to plan for shortages. All frontline health and social care workers must be double vaccinated by 1 April to keep their jobs, with a deadline for first jabs on 3 February.
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‘Regardless of the mandate for NHS workers, it is the professional duty of every NHS worker to get vaccinated,’ said Mr Javid.
‘I don’t want to pretend that it is the same sort of proportions in every trust. But we are seeing that through persuasion and making the positive decision that more and more people are coming forward.’
Speaking to the health and social care select committee, Mr Javid said that he wanted to establish a national vaccination service that would mean GPs did not have to stop doing other work in order to deliver vaccines.
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‘We cannot have GPs stop doing their regular work,’ Javid said. ‘That can be an emergency response now, but in the future, we’ve got to have a national vaccination service that is able to deal with Covid vaccines as well as other vaccines without drawing in workforce from the rest of the NHS.’