From April 1st, all NHS staff will need to be fully vaccinated or risk being sacked when the Government’s ‘no jab, no job’ policy for the health sector becomes enforced. However, official predictions reveal that only 20,000 out of 70,000 unvaccinated workers will come forward for the jab, sparking fears of chronic staffing shortages, but the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, supports mandatory vaccination for NHS employees, declaring that it is their “duty” to receive the Covid vaccine. The MailOnline has more.
Unions have warned the controversial policy threatens to do more harm than good by exacerbating crippling staff shortages across England’s health service, which already has in the region of 100,000 vacancies.
But the Health Secretary stuck by the move, saying it was the “duty” of NHS workers to get the jab in order to protect patients, and insisted that he does “not want to see anyone have to walk away from their job”.
“This is all about patient safety, we know vaccines work, we know that they reduce the risk of you being infected, so it reduces the spread of an infection”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“People whether they are in care homes or a hospital bed, they are particularly vulnerable to this virus, it could be fatal. It is our duty to do everything we can to protect them”.
Javid said the public would have questioned why they did not introduce the policy, when other countries around the world have. “I think you’d have me on the show saying ‘why didn’t you do anything about it’?”, he said.
Meanwhile, No10 was today urged to delay the same controversial ‘no jab, no job’ policy for carers until the spring to match the same timeline set for NHS workers, over fears the plans could backfire and kill elderly residents.
From tomorrow, all care home employees must have had two Covid vaccines to keep their jobs. Estimates suggest up to 60,000 workers will be made redundant. Unions have already claimed hundreds of homes may be forced to close their doors for good from tomorrow because of staffing shortages. The sector was already short of 100,000 workers before the pandemic struck.
Defending the vaccine mandate, Javid told Sky News: “I don’t want to see anyone lose their job, I don’t want to see anyone have to walk away from their job.
“I just do think it is important to be doing everything we can, because also what I don’t want to see, most of all what I don’t want to see, is someone… that’s vulnerable being exposed to Covid when it could have been prevented, and perhaps they might even die from that, and I think that would be totally unacceptable.”
He added: “I’m not pretending, nobody is saying that you could have a 100% method of protecting them.
“But what you can do is reduce the chances of them becoming infected, and I think it is perfectly reasonable to say to everyone that works in health and care, please take this vaccine.
“Some 93% have had at least one shot and that’s fantastic to see. There’s still around 100,000 we estimate in the NHS that have not.”
Speaking to LBC, he added: “The vast majority of NHS workers are already vaccinated and I want to, of course, thank them for that.
“They’ve done that not only to protect themselves or their colleagues, most of all I think they’ve done it to protect their patients.
“We know that people in hospital, they’re already very vulnerable, and the last thing they want is to be exposed to Covid when it could have been prevented, and that can be fatal for them in that condition.
“I think, ultimately, this is the right call, that it is the duty of the NHS and the Government to do everything that we can to protect vulnerable people.”
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