Forcing health and social care staff to take a Covid vaccine would lead to “resentment and mistrust”, says the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), which boasts a membership of over 50,000 British GPs. The group “strongly urges” that all professionals (and members of the public) have a vaccine when offered, but says that making vaccination mandatory would be a step too far. Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the RCGP, is quoted on GP Online:
While overall take-up [of the vaccine] is high, among groups where it is not, this needs to be identified, understood and addressed.
We would strongly urge all health and care professionals to have the Covid vaccine, unless there is a medical reason why they shouldn’t, and the vast majority have. Healthcare professionals are at high risk of contracting Covid and getting vaccinated will help protect themselves, their colleagues and their patients.
However, we don’t agree with making Covid vaccination mandatory as informed and educated choice about health interventions would be more beneficial long-term than enforcing them, which risks leading to resentment and mistrust.
The Covid vaccine is our most important tool in protecting people from the virus, and helping to get life back to normal. All vaccines that we’re currently using in the U.K. have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they are safe and effective – as such, we’d urge anyone who is offered a jab to have one.
GP Online has more on the current position of Britain’s vaccine rollout among healthcare professionals.
Polling by the BMA shows that the vast majority of GPs have now been vaccinated – 93% of GP partners, 86% of salaried GPs and 84% of locums have now received both doses of Covid vaccine.
However, increased vaccine hesitancy among some healthcare workers has been reported, and not only among staff working in care homes. In care homes, the Government says that just 53% of care homes for older adults currently meet the required level of vaccination coverage among staff and residents to protect against Covid outbreaks.
Earlier this month, the Royal College of Nursing, which has a membership of 450,000 registered nurses, also came out against mandatory Covid vaccination for health and social care staff, saying it would be wrong for staff to be “coerced” into having the vaccine. Professor Karol Sikora, former Chief of the Cancer Programme of the World Health Organisation, has also suggested that we stop focusing all of our attention on vaccine passports, mass testing and other “grand schemes” (of which mandatory vaccination is certainly one) and instead target our sights on the health-related issues which have been left behind during the Covid era.
The GP Online report is worth reading in full.