The government is looking at legally enforcing a Covid vaccine mandate for all NHS staff.
Health secretary Sajid Javid wants to push through legislation requiring protection against the virus as a condition of employment as soon as possible, according to The Sunday Times.
Some 106,351 NHS staff in England have not been vaccinated, around seven per cent of the total.
A vaccine mandate is hoped by Javid to protect vulnerable patients from catching Covid in hospital.
Booster jabs are also set to be rolled out to under-50s after Christmas, under Javid’s plans. Third doses for this cohort have yet to be given the green light by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The plans come as Covid cases are on the rise once more, surpassing 50,000 cases a day last week for the first time in three months.
Health service warnings
The country’s health service may have to cope with 100,000 new Covid cases a day, Javid warned last week.
The British Medical Association (BMA) dubbed ministers “wilfully negligent” for ruling out a return to facemasks, mandatory Covid passports and a work from home message.
Scientific advisers have also urged the government to act fast to avoid another winter lockdown this year.
“I get a sense we are rather dilly-dallying into lockdown,” Professor Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which works with SAGE, said.
“If we don’t have those other protections now, as happened last year, if we wait and allow things to run out of control, we will need later restrictions.”
While vaccines were “wonderful,” they were “not quite enough,” he said on Sky News.
“It’s remarkable we are in a situation where the government’s own public health leaders are giving advice which is at odds with what the government is actually doing.”