Government could make Covid vaccine mandatory for NHS staff
"It's something we are absolutely thinking about."
Speaking to Sky News, Zahawi said: "It would be incumbent on any responsible government to have the debate, to do the thinking as to how we go about protecting the most vulnerable by making sure that those who look after them are vaccinated".
He went on to cite the very obvious logic that "[t]here is precedent for this, obviously surgeons get vaccinated for hepatitis B. So it's something we are absolutely thinking about."
With many healthcare workers in direct contact with coronavirus patients, compulsory Covid vaccines would seem a logical step to help protect workers and patients as much as possible.
The minister also appeared on The Andrew Marr Show to discuss the proposal among other topics including his defence of Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the government's handling of the pandemic; the topic has been on everyone's mind following Dominic Cummings' surreal tell-all in a recent select committee.
#Marr: Should NHS workers should have compulsory Covid vaccinations?
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi: "It would be irresponsible for us not to ask that question"https://t.co/bpAY8uDAME pic.twitter.com/PNpC78E670
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) May 30, 2021
However, not all parties were in agreement with Zahawi's compulsory vaccination plans.
Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the Commons said that it could be viewed as "threatening" staff, adding "[g]iven we've got a recruitment crisis in parts of the NHS I think it’s far more important we try and work with staff rather than against them."
The discussion surrounding compulsory Covid vaccines is one that has long circulated, however, attitudes towards the jab are still divided.