UK introduce mandatory COVID vaccination for NHS staff

mandatory covid vaccination, NHS staff
© Marian Vejcik

From April 2022, there will be a mandatory COVID vaccination requirement for NHS staff – currently over 100,000 staff are unvaccinated

The new rule, announced yesterday (9 November), means that all NHS staff must now be vaccinated against COVID.

Speaking to the House of Commons, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We head into the winter months in a much stronger position than last year. Of all the reasons for this progress, the greatest is unquestionably our vaccination programme.”

The new vaccine mandate risks a substantial loss to the health and social care workforce. According to Dan Bloom, 126,000 workers could refuse to take the vaccine. This would excavate the NHS workforce, at a highly tenuous moment.

The NHS is currently down by 90,000 workers, which results in excessive working patterns for the existing workforce. There were high hopes for a new personal drive via the Autumn Budget.

Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Training and increasing the supply of doctors, nurses and other health and care professionals is so important at a time when public polling recognizes that staffing is the biggest problem facing the NHS.”

COVID hospitalisation at nearly 9,000 and rising

The new rule will impact the NHS staff who have yet to get the vaccine, or refuse to be vaccinated. According to real-world research, conducted on now over a million people, vaccines have been proven to be safe.

As of today, 8,900 people are currently in hospital with COVID. This means they require extra oxygen or even intubated ventilation, to heighten their blood oxygen. Most of these people have two doses of vaccine, which prevented them from taking a more fatal hit from the virus.

Speaking about the situation in the NHS, Secretary Javid said: “The latest figures show that 90 percent of NHS Trust staff have received at least two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine although in some Trusts, the figure sits closer to 80 percent.”

Why are people vaccine hesitant?

Vaccine hesitancy is generally attributed to older people, those hesitant about the concept of medical science and outliers who believe that tracking chips can be delivered via syringe. Some even believed that babies were being used to create the vaccine, which has been proven false. But mistrust can happen at any age, in any community. Here, ONS data examined why young people are vaccine hesitant. 

Still, there is a noticeable disparity in vaccine take-up for certain communities.

When it comes to Black British adults, they are experiencing a higher proportional rate of hospitalisation and death via COVID than other ethnicities. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that in the first wave, Black men were three times more likely to die than white men.

Dr Sylvia Kama-Kieghe, explains that there are “genuine concerns” behind vaccine hesitancy in the Black community. In her perspective, GPs can bridge a gap of misinformation by responding to their patients’ concerns without judgement. She commented: “Some of these stem from individual and group experiences of healthcare and others relate to inclusion and access to credible information.”


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