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09th Nov 2021

No Jab, No Job: Health Secretary announces compulsory vaccinations for NHS staff

Ava Evans

Mandatory covid-19 vaccinations will be introduced from April for 1.2 million NHS England staff, Sajid Javid confirms

All 1.2 million full-time NHS staff will have to be vaccinated against coronavirus by next spring or they’ll face losing their job.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed the policy in the House of Commons on Tuesday (November 8), despite health unions and some doctors’ organisations voicing strong opposition.

A deadline of April 2022 to get both doses of the vaccine means unvaccinated staff will need to be jabbed in the coming weeks to accommodate the three-month period between doses – or face dismissal.

Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers, said there were around 80-100,000 unvaccinated staff who risk losing their job.

Hopson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he understood the logic behind compulsory vaccinations but was concerned the NHS could face losing huge numbers of staff which in turn would put significant pressure on the health service.

Unison’s Head of Health, Sara Gorton expressed similar concern for the mandatory vaccination programme.

Gorton said: “Mandatory jabs in social care have prompted an unprecedented staffing crisis

“The government should be careful not to make the same mistake twice. It should also consider practical alternatives like daily testing.”

Mandatory vaccinations for care home staff were announced by the health secretary in August. From Thursday (November 11), anyone working or volunteering in a care home will need to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment.

Latest figures from NHS England on October 31 show that almost a quarter of staff (116,871) working in younger adult care homes and domiciliary care providers have not reported having had both jabs.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph former Health Secretary Matt Hancock backed a mandatory vaccination policy, writing “there is no respectable argument left not to force health and social care workers to get jabbed”

He praised the overwhelming effort by the NHS that has seen over 100 million doses of the vaccine delivered but warned it would be a tough winter ahead if everyone did not get their booster shot.

Hancock said: “Only by mandating vaccines for NHS and social-care staff can we honestly say the NHS is as well prepared as it can be – and doing all it can to maintain its duty to protect patients – and in so doing protect the freedoms we cherish so much.”

Vaccinations will become a condition of work by April 2022.

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