Under new measures revealed by the Health Secretary today (Tuesday) health and social care workers will need to provide evidence they have been double-vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to be deployed to work.
The change aims to ensure both patients and staff are protected against infection, a Government statement said, and will apply to those who have direct, face-to-face contact with people while providing care and ancillary staff who may also have social contact with patients.
There are exemptions for those who do not have face-to-face contact with patients, or who cannot receive the jab for medical reasons.
‘If you haven’t come forward for your jab yet, please do so’
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said on Tuesday: “Vaccines save lives and patient safety is paramount. Many of the people being treated in hospitals or cared for at home are the most vulnerable to Covid-19.
"We have a responsibility to give patients and staff the best possible protection.
"We have consulted closely with the sector and will introduce new regulations to ensure people working in healthcare are vaccinated from next spring.
"I want thank everyone who works in health and social care for the amazing work they do. If you haven’t come forward for your jab yet, please do so.
"We are determined to support you in this process.”
The decision applies to health and wider social care settings that are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
In a previous decision, care home workers in England had already been told they must be fully vaccinated by the deadline of this Thursday (November 11).
Subject to the passage of regulations through Parliament, the rule would be enforced for all other health and social care workers from April 1 next year.
According to a Government statement, almost 90% of NHS staff are already double jabbed.
‘It's personal choice’
Readers reacted on social media ahead of Mr Javid’s announcement on Tuesday. This is what they had to say:
Michael Bolam said: “So much for personal choice. The vaccine was always ‘sold’ as an individual’s choice but now that choice is being taken away from them.
"I am fully vaccinated and that was my choice, I understand there are some people out there who don't want it and their decision should be respected.”
Val Hallsaid: “I'd rather know someone looking after me had tested negative than have had both jabs as you can still catch Covid and pass it on even when double jabbed.”
Dean Marshall said: “What will happen if we have shortages of staff? There is already a backlog in hospitals for everything from hip replacements to cancer ops!”
Sarah McArdle said: “They worked through the thick of it with no jabs! What happened to personal choice?”
Paul Wood said: “You can still get Covid and pass it on either way it doesn’t make you immune. It’s personal choice. Should sign a form instead to say they are aware of the risks to themselves.”