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Mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for NHS staff criticised by Royal College of Nursing in the East Midlands

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A nurses union has spoken out against a decision to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all NHS staff.

The Government recently announced that all frontline staff members must have had two jabs by April 1, 2022. The mandate applies to anyone involved with patient care who may have direct contact with patients - including receptionists and cleaners.

Teresa Budrey, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing in the East Midlands, said: “We support vaccination for health care staff but we are not in favour of making vaccination compulsory and a condition of deployment for these staff.

The Royal College of Nursing in the East Midlands doesn't believe mandatory Covid-19 vaccines are necessary (Photo: iStock)
The Royal College of Nursing in the East Midlands doesn't believe mandatory Covid-19 vaccines are necessary (Photo: iStock)

“Our view is that staff should take up the opportunity to be vaccinated. Of course, it’s not the only measure that helps to reduce the risk of catching and transmitting the virus – as responsible professionals they are observing other infection control practices while they’re at work in order to protect themselves and their patients – but, fundamentally, we do think it’s a good idea for staff to be vaccinated, too.

“We don’t believe that making vaccination compulsory is the right way to go. We question whether taking away someone’s right to choose whether they are vaccinated in order to work will ultimately improve uptake. We think the best way to ensure staff have the vaccination if they’re reluctant is to focus on educating them and reinforcing the benefits of vaccination as opposed to making it mandatory.

“We think the Government should give some very serious thought to the risk that mandating it will further marginalise those who are vaccine hesitant. There’s a real risk that those people will walk away from the NHS or otherwise become undeployable, with that having the unintended consequence of making staffing shortages even worse and putting patient care at risk.

“The pandemic has exposed that NHS and social care services are chronically short of staff, and those services and the patients who rely on them cannot afford to lose the capacity and expertise of staff who don’t want to be vaccinated.”

The mandate is set to follow the November 11 deadline which required all care home staff to be double-jabbed or lose their job.

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