Thursday 9 September 2021 9:33 am

Compulsory jabs? Consultation on vaccinations for health staff begins

The government has launched a consultation today to make a decision on whether there should be compulsory jabs for frontline workers in health and care settings.

The six-week long consultation could result in staff receiving mandatory Covid-19 and flu vaccines to protect their patients and people receiving their care, unless they are medically exempt.

The majority of NHS staff have already been fully vaccinated, 88 per cent according to government figures, while 92 per cent have had their first dose.

But between NHS trusts, double vaccination uptake rates can vary from around 78 per cent to 94 per cent, due to new data being released today, the government said.

Health secretary Sajid Javid explained: “We will consider the responses to the consultation carefully but, whatever happens, I urge the small minority of NHS staff who have not yet been jabbed to consider getting vaccinated – for their own health as well as those around them.

“It’s so clear to see the impact vaccines have against respiratory viruses which can be fatal to the vulnerable, and that’s why we’re exploring mandatory vaccines for both Covid-19 and flu.”

The consultation is set to examine the impacts of compulsory jabs on staffing and whether it will cut back absence due to illness.

Mandatory vaccinations are not new for NHS staff, as surgeons and other staff undertaking “exposure-prone” procedures, must have a Hepatitis B vaccine.

Flu jabs have also been recommended for staff, as well as vulnerable groups, in the UK since the late 1960s.

Following an earlier consultation, those working in the adult social care sector must now be double jabbed by 11 November, unless they are exempt.