National & International

In England, vaccinations will be required for frontline NHS workers

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Frontline NHS staff in England will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid, the government is expected to announce later, according to the BBC.

A deadline will be set for next spring to give unvaccinated staff time to get both doses, Whitehall sources told the BBC.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 NHS workers in England were unvaccinated, said Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers.

Thursday is the deadline for care home workers in England to get vaccinated.

The government’s decision follows a consultation which began in September and considered whether both the Covid and flu jabs should be compulsory for frontline NHS and care workers.

The BBC understands that the flu vaccine will not be made mandatory and there will be exemptions for the Covid vaccine requirement for medical reasons.

Each of the four UK nations makes its own decisions on the issue.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not made any proposals to make Covid jabs compulsory for NHS workers or care home staff.

Last month, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC he was leaning towards compulsory vaccination for NHS staff in England.

He said he did not want the NHS to lose any staff, but said the experience in the social care sector was that the numbers taking up the vaccine “absolutely surged” after it was made compulsory.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers which represents England’s NHS trusts, urged the government to think carefully about the tone of any announcement, saying unvaccinated staff should not be scapegoated or denigrated.

“We understand why people are vaccine-hesitant. We need to win the argument with them rather than beat them around the head,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today, saying peer-to-peer conversations were the best way to convince people.

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