Are YOU a frontline NHS worker who doesn’t want a Covid vaccine?
The new ‘no jab, no job’ rule in the NHS might only spur on around 20,000 workers to get vaccinated against Covid, according to the Government’s own estimates.
A white paper into the impact of the policy was published by the Department of Health tonight after Sajid Javid announced that all frontline NHS workers in England need to be double-jabbed against Covid by April 1 or they will be sacked.
The document estimates that just 22,000 of the 125,000 currently unvaccinated staff — including medics, cleaners, porters and receptionists — will get their Covid jabs by that deadline.
It also shows that ministers expect 73,000 not to come forward for the vaccines and by default lose their job. The remaining 30,000 are medically exempt.
Mr Javid said the ‘scales clearly tipped to one side’ in favour of compulsory jabs, but critics say they are unnecessary given that 90 per cent of staff are already fully jabbed and 93 per cent have had their first dose.
Trade union GMB warned the ‘bulldozing’ policy will only worsen the ‘crushing’ staffing crisis. The health service already had around 100,000 vacancies before Covid struck, including a shortfall of 10,000 doctors and 35,000 nurses.
Unvaccinated staff have already threatened to quit on the back of the announcemnet, with one trainee nurse telling MailOnline it was a ‘kick in the teeth’ after working tirelessly on wards through the pandemic. Ryan Balment, 38, was set to graduate as a nurse in two years, but says he will now become a dog trainer.
But advocates of the move — including former Tory health secretaries Matt Hancock and Jeremy Hunt — argue health workers have a duty of care to their patients.
Figures published last night showed that more than 11,000 patients died from Covid after catching the virus in NHS hospitals while being treated for other illnesses.
The move brings the NHS into line with care homes, where employees have until Thursday to get two doses of the Covid vaccine or be made redundant.
A white paper into the impact of the plan was published by the Department of Health tonight after Sajid Javid announced that all frontline NHS workers in England need to be double-jabbed against Covid by April 1 or they will be sacked. The document estimates that just 22,000 of the 125,000 currently unvaccinated staff — including medics, cleaners, porters and receptionists — will get their Covid jabs by that deadline. It also shows that ministers expect 73,000 not to come forward for the vaccines and by default lose their job. The remaining 30,000 are medically exempt
A trainee nurse has said they would rather become a dog trainer than get the Covid vaccine. Ryan Balment, 38, (left) told MailOnline he was currently training to be a nurse but would not get the vaccine. He is on wards at a hospital in the South West. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said today frontline NHS staff will need to get two doses of the Covid jab by April
Some 100,000 NHS workers are yet to get at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, figures show. The above graph shows the percentage that have got their first dose (blue line) and the percentage that have got both doses (orange line)
The above map shows the 20 hospital trusts with the lowest proportion of staff fully jabbed in England. The data is up to September 30, the latest available
Unveiling the plans in the Commons today, Mr Javid said: ‘I’ve carefully considered the responses and the evidence and I’ve concluded that the scales clearly tip to one side.
‘The weight of the data shows our vaccinations have kept people safe and they have saved lives.’
He added: ‘Allow me to be clear that no-one in the NHS or care that is currently unvaccinated should be scapegoated, singled out or shamed.
Covid infections on wards kill 11,000
More than 11,000 patients have caught Covid and died in NHS hospitals while being treated for other illnesses.
Freedom of Information data from NHS trusts in England revealed that 11,688 patients who died in hospital after testing positive for Covid probably caught the virus there.
This accounted for one in eight Covid deaths in hospital.
Figures from University Hospitals Birmingham show it recorded as many as 484 deaths of patients who were thought to have caught the virus on wards during the pandemic.
But the hospital trust said it was one of the ‘largest’ in the country and had ‘treated over 18,000 Covid-19 patients… significantly more than any other hospital trust’.
Meanwhile, at four acute NHS trusts, more than a quarter of patients who died with the virus had caught it while in hospital.
And 34 trusts said that one in five patients who had died after a positive Covid test had become infected in their care.
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust saw 213 patients die after catching Covid on its wards, accounting for a third of all its Covid deaths.
The Countess of Chester said Covid patients made up ‘more than 70 per cent of [its] general and acute beds at one point’ meaning it was ‘one of the most seriously affected trusts in the North of England’.
Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative chairman of the health and social care select committee, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘These numbers are truly shocking… hospital infections have been the deadliest silent killer of the pandemic… It surely strengthens the case for mandatory vaccination for frontline healthcare staff.’
‘That would be totally unacceptable. This is about supporting them to make a positive choice to protect vulnerable people, to protect their colleagues. And of course to protect themselves.’
But NHS staff have said they fear colleagues ‘will simply leave’ over the move.
Mr Balment, from Devon, told MailOnline: ‘I would rather leave the health service than be told to have something that I don’t know is 100 per cent effective.’
He added: ‘I am quite disappointed because I feel that I have worked throughout the pandemic and a lot of people I know have worked throught the pandemic.
‘To suddenly be told that unless you have this vaccine we are not going to keep you employed, you are no longer of value, it is a bit of a kick in the teeth.’
He said the mandate was more likely to push NHS staff to ‘rebel against’ being vaccinated than take up the jabs.
Asked what he would do if ministers followed through on their threat to sack unvaccinated staff, he said: ‘I recently set up a company on the basis that this [compulsory vaccination] was going to happen, which is dog training with my partner so we are looking at going down that route. I felt like it was needed so that we had an option there to fall back on.’
Mr Balment said he was not an anti-vaxxer, but that he was worried about getting the jab because it had only recently been developed.
An unvaccinated NHS nurse who said she manned Covid wards in Greater Manchester last winter, and asked not to be named, told this website she will apply to work in Homebase because she refuses to be vaccinated.
The mother-of-three claimed she does regular lateral flow tests to protect patients after catching the virus in March 2020.
She told MailOnline: ‘[Making vaccines compulsory] just seems pointless, and I feel so disappointed and let down.
‘I have worked so hard to get my job, I have been working for 13 years now and it seems ridiculous to lose it over something that is well — getting a vaccine that doesn’t stop you from getting the virus.’
A nurse from Yorkshire, who wished to remain anonymous, said she feared the impact the measures could have on care.
‘We cannot afford for NHS staff to be reprimanded or taken off the frontline for not having a mandatory vaccine in the middle of a national crisis and during the winter period,’ the 38-year-old told the PA news agency.
‘I would encourage all staff to have the vaccines but do not agree that it should be compulsory… staff will simply leave and we cannot take that risk.’
A doctor from London, who also wished to remain anonymous, said the announcement could lead to staff ‘not taking up shifts, even if they’re not actually quitting’.
The doctor, in his 30s, expressed particular concern that agency staff would be affected by the policy, saying: ‘They already have quite tenuous requirements and experience in order to do the job anyway… I think if there was another hurdle that required vaccination, I suspect many of them wouldn’t take up the shifts.’
‘We as doctors… have the idea of consent for any medical procedure, any medication, it is the underpinning arch to everything we do.
‘It is therefore odd we’re in a situation where we’re having something that we cannot consent or say no to, and a mitigation of our normal healthcare rights.’
Making Covid vaccines compulsory ISN’T best method of improving uptake, data shows
ONS data showed wanting to protect yourself and others from Covid was the biggest motivator to get jabbed among un-vaccinated Britons
Compulsory Covid vaccines are not the best way to boost jab uptake, a survey revealed today.
An Office for National Statistics survey of 4,000 people asked un-vaccinated Britons what could motivate them to get their shots.
Respondents said protecting themselves and others from Covid was the most likely reason they would get the vaccine at a later date (19 per cent gave this answer).
Helping restrictions ease and life to return to normal, and making it easier to go on holiday (16 per cent) was the second most likely motivator.
But being told by an employer they needed the shots to keep working for them dropped to the third most likely motivator (13 per cent).
It was at the same level as being offered a voucher was to get vaccinated (also 13 per cent).
Frontline NHS workers will be required to get two doses of the Covid vaccine to keep their jobs from spring, reports suggested today.
Experts have warned this policy could ‘backfire’ by making vaccine resistant employees less likely to get the jab and health chiefs say it could spark a mass exodus of employees.
The doctor added that focusing on mandatory vaccines, rather than issues such as sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), was an attempt to ‘pretend you’re back to normal’.
A union representative at an NHS hospital trust in Sheffield also raised concern, saying: ‘I want to see all staff having the vaccine if they are able, but the prospect of colleagues losing their jobs and livelihoods as a result of refusing it is alarming.
‘Vaccine uptake among NHS staff is much higher than among the general workforce and yet, along with care workers, we are being singled out for a vaccine mandate at a time when we already face significant staff shortages.
‘This from the same Government that has consistently refused to continue with measures that effectively reduce the transmission of Covid across society, like mask-wearing in public places.
‘Both are operating under extreme pressures, after a decade of austerity and cuts, with an exhausted and demoralised workforce who are fearful of what is to come as we head through winter.
‘Staff are already leaving their employment and this will certainly force many more to go, as we are currently witnessing in adult residential social care as a result of this legislative change to their employment.’
A poll carried out by the union found only four in ten healthcare workers supported making jabs compulsory.
Professor Helen Bedford, a children’s health expert at Great Ormond Street Institute of child health, warned that making vaccines compulsory could ‘backfire’.
‘When there is concern about less than optimal vaccine uptake rates, making vaccination mandatory can seem the obvious solution — but it can backfire. It may make people who are just unsure about vaccination more resistant.
‘There is plenty of evidence showing that it is preferable to provide opportunities to discuss vaccine concerns openly and non-judgementally with people who have doubts and to ensure there are adequate opportunities to access vaccination.’
Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers which represents hospital trusts, said making vaccines compulsory in the NHS may result in the health service losing ‘significant numbers of staff’.
He said: ‘The problem for both social care and the NHS is we run these systems incredibly hot on very, very fine margins. Both of us have got around 90 to 100,000 vacancies.
‘We are completely reliant on our staff to… work extra shifts in order to do the work that needs to be done.
‘So losing significant numbers of staff, particularly given the pressure that both of the systems are under at the moment, is a real, real problem.
‘And that’s why we’re very clear with the Government they need to help us manage this risk.’
But Mr Hopson added that the rule could help to boost uptake of the Covid vaccine, and encourage hospitals to open conversations with vaccine hesitant employees.
He said: ‘If you look at other nations that have done this, there is no doubt that if you do it carefully, at the point when you announce the fact that you are going to have mandatory vaccinations in the sector, it does provide quite a useful opportunity to then have those kind of further conversations.
‘So if we get it right, actually, it could be quite a useful spur in some senses to drive the take-up up, but the bit that we just need to be careful of, as I said, is avoiding scapegoating people.’
Dominic Raab defended the decision this morning ahead of the announcement, saying it would offer society’s most vulnerable the protection that they deserved.
Although he refused to confirm reports that the jabs would be made compulsory for the NHS, he told Sky News that it was important to boost jab uptake by ‘any means necessary’.
Mr Raab said: ‘I think it is critically important in those vulnerable settings, care homes and the NHS and particularly as we go through winter, that the vulnerable people there are properly protected.
‘I think we need to get by any means necessary the level of jabs up.’
He added on ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘Ultimately we’ve got to make sure that the lives of those people in those vulnerable settings are safeguarded, and that’s a difficult choice, that’s one of the many difficult choices that we’ve got in Government.
‘But I think we’d be getting a lot of criticism if we weren’t taking those difficult decisions, and we were leaving people more and unnecessarily exposed than before.’
The above graph shows the proportion of staff working in care homes for the over-65s who have received their first and second doses of the vaccine. It reveals that there was no sharp surge in uptake when the jabs were made compulsory
The above map shows the five areas where more than one in five care home employees are still yet to get two doses of the Covid vaccine
Louise Akester, 36, seen weeping in an online video after she was fired from Alderson House, an NHS care home in Hull. Concerned about potential long-term side effects from the jab, she said: ‘This choice should be my basic human right. I genuinely love my job with all my heart’