Consultation begins into ending mandatory jabs for health and social care staff

The Government has been clear that, while it intends to revoke the policy, all health and social care staff have a ‘professional duty’ to get jabbed.

09 February 2022

A week-long public consultation into revoking mandatory coronavirus vaccines for England’s health and social care workers has been launched by the Government.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is seeking views on its plans to abandon the requirement for frontline NHS and social care staff.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons last week that he believes it is “no longer proportionate” to require vaccination as a condition of deployment under law.

He said it is only right to review the policy, given that Delta has been replaced by the less severe Omicron as the dominant variant, and there is greater population protection.

Anti-vaccines protest
People take part in an anti-vaccines protest in London (PA)

The Government has been clear that, while it intends to revoke the policy, all health and social care staff have a “professional duty” to get jabbed.

People will be asked to what extent they agree or disagree with the Government’s plans, and if they believe there are other steps that could increase vaccine uptake.

They will also be asked if they think there are certain groups who would be particularly affected, both positively and negatively, by the U-turn.

Mandatory Covid-19 vaccines came into force for care home staff in November last year, and were due to be introduced for frontline NHS and wider social care staff in regulated settings from April 1.

There have been calls for the Government to apologise to care homes, who have had to sack unvaccinated staff.

Pending the results of the consultation and the regulations being revoked, health and care providers have been advised not to serve notice to staff who are not yet vaccinated.

Figures published last week by NHS England show that 88.3% of domiciliary care staff had received a first dose as of January 30.

This suggests that 47,444 remain unvaccinated or their vaccination status has not been recorded.

Some 4.7% of staff at NHS trusts in England had not had a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine as of January 30 – the equivalent of 72,105 people.

The survey can be completed online and will close at 11.45pm on February 16.

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