It just been confirmed that COVID-19 vaccines are to be compulsory for 1.2 million full-time frontline NHS staff in England.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed it to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon.
In his address, Mr Javid said that he had considered responses to a consultation and advice from officials and NHS leaders in making the decision, adding: “We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and of course protect the NHS itself.
Mr Javid said 90% of NHS staff have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but added that in some trusts the figure is “closer to 80%”.
He said that overall, around 103,000 staff in the NHS in England remained unvaccinated.
“It’s hard to know what portion of that number will take up the offer of vaccination,” Mr Javid said.
The Health Secretary insisted the decision to move ahead with compulsory vaccines for NHS staff does not mean the government was ignoring concerns about “workforce pressures” this winter.
He continued: “It’s with this in mind that we’ve chosen for the condition not to come into force until 12 weeks after parliamentary approval, allowing time for remaining colleagues to make the positive choice to protect themselves of those around them, and time for workforce planning.”
Only those who do not have face-to-face contact with patients or who are medically exempt will not be required to get vaccinated.
This is a BREAKING NEWS story – More to follow.
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