Mandatory vaccination for health and social care workers will be scrapped in a fortnight following a Government U-turn. The Mail has the story.
Ministers were accused of undermining public confidence after Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs in January that the “no jab, no job” policy was “no longer proportionate”.
Now it has been confirmed that compulsory jabs will no longer be a condition of employment from March 15th.
It comes after an estimated 40,000 workers were fired when legislation over being fully vaccinated came into effect in November.
Mr Javid said that it had been the “right policy when the original decision was taken”.
But he added that things had changed following “clinical evidence regarding the current Omicron variant of COVID-19, which is intrinsically less severe than Delta, and the high rate of vaccination across the population”.
Pat Cullen, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the change was the “right decision” but said it had come “too late for those who have already lost their jobs”.
She added: “Ministers must now urgently address the health and social care workforce crisis which is undermining nursing staff’s ability to care safely for their patients. There are tens of thousands of nursing vacancies across those services.”
Previously the NHS vaccine mandate had been paused ahead of an anticipated large number of staff losses at a time of crisis. The policy was put out to consultation, and the Government decision has now been announced, with the care home worker mandate, which had come into effect in the autumn at the cost of an estimated 40,000 workers, also being scrapped. This will allow any sacked workers who want their old jobs back to offer their services again.
Good news – but it’s a tragedy that hard working staff were put through this at all. And a further tragedy that care home residents have had to suffer the consequences of under-staffing, which alongside the rigours of Covid protocols will have taken its toll.
Vigilance will be required to ensure mandates don’t creep in via professional bodies or other means.
Worth reading in full.