The UK government appears poised to reverse its plans to force NHS workers to receive coronavirus vaccines – or be fired from their jobs.
Ministers will meet to discuss the NHS vaccination mandate amid fears that forcing healthcare workers to have Covid vaccinations could result in tens of thousands of them simply refusing – and losing their jobs as a result.
As things stand now, NHS staff in England must be fully vaccinated by April 1st. So what are vaccination mandates – and how many NHS staff have not yet received their Covid vaccinations?
CONTINUE READING: What are the current Covid-19 rules for NHS workers?
What is a vaccination order?
A vaccination order is a requirement for certain types of workers to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Some countries have introduced vaccination requirements for a range of occupations, whether introduced as a government requirement or by individual employers as part of their terms of employment.
Where immunization requirements are in place, employees may be barred from certain roles or duties, or simply fired from their jobs altogether.
However, using vaccination mandates to force people to get vaccinated is controversial. Opponents argue that they are counterproductive as a public health tool and that education and persuasion work better than violence.
How many NHS workers are unvaccinated?
Around 77,000 NHS workers have reportedly not yet had the Covid vaccination. There will be more who have had vaccination but are not fully vaccinated for some reason.
This has sparked fears that the continuation of the planned vaccination order for NHS workers could lead to a mass exodus from the healthcare system.
The NHS has been plagued by staff shortages for several years and ministers are reportedly nervous that the vaccination mandate could exacerbate these existing problems.
Plans to introduce the NHS vaccine mandate were drawn up when Delta was still the dominant Covid variant. However, the Omicron variant – which is generally less severe, at least in people with some pre-immunity – has since supplanted it.
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