NHS and social care workers will no longer be required to have a Covid-19 vaccine to be able to work after the government announced a huge u-turn on its previous decision
The government had previously approved plans that meant NHS staff would need to be vaccinated in order to work and a deadline had been set for April.
It meant those who did not have their first jab by this Friday would not be doubled-vaccinated in time and would lose their jobs, according to TheMirror.
Bit tonight, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has told the Commons that the rule will be changed.
He said: “Given the Delta has been replaced it’s only right that our policy on vaccination as a condition of deployment is reviewed.”
Mr Javid added: “I believe it is no longer proportionate to require vaccination as a condition of employment through statute.
“So today, I am announcing we will launch a consultation on ending vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and all social care settings.
“Subject to the responses, and the will of this House, the government will revoke the regulations.”
Alarm bells had been ringing in the NHS about the policy, with senior NHS sources claiming that the mandatory policy would leave some areas without enough staff due to the low vaccine uptake rates.
In London, just 69% of residents have had their first dose of the vaccine, while 44% have had their booster jab.
Figures from NHS England also show that 127,515 NHS and domiciliary care staff working in registered settings had not had a first dose of the vaccine (as of January 23).
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting welcomed the move.
But former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt criticized the u-turn.
Mr Hunt said: “Frontline workers have done an extraordinary job in this pandemic but I have yet to meet a single one that believes that anyone in contact with patients has a right to put them to increased risk by not having a vaccine unless there is a medical exemption.”