Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

NHS staff could be forced to receive Covid jab to stop virus spreading in hospitals

Single dose coronavirus vaccine approved for use in UK

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Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the Government was considering making it compulsory for healthcare workers to be fully inoculated as a condition of work. He said: “It would be incumbent on any responsible government to do the thinking as to how we go about protecting the most vulnerable by making sure those who look after them are vaccinated.”

He added: “There is precedent for this. Surgeons get vaccinated for hepatitis B. So it’s something we are absolutely thinking about.”

NHS staff have been eligible for a jab since the first phase of the vaccine programme. However, despite working with sick patients and facing an increased risk of infection themselves, there is no requirement to get one.

Mr Zahawi said: “It would be irresponsible of us as a government not to ask that question.”

Mandatory Covid jabs could also see social care workers refused work unless they can prove they have been vaccinated.

This would include nurses and others caring for vulnerable adults having to receive a protective shot.

It would mean providers only being able to deploy staff who are fully protected, unless they are exempt for medical reasons.

Care homes have been on the frontline of the Covid crisis with former Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings claiming during an explosive Parliamentary appearance last week: “The Government rhetoric was we put a shield around care homes. Quite the opposite – we sent people with Covid back to the care homes.”

Since the pandemic erupted in March last year 36,275 people have died of Covid in care homes.

Experts blame the rapid spread of the virus on patients discharged from hospital and care workers – many of whom moved from one care home to another.

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