The British government has opened a consultation on possibly making full vaccination against the Chinese coronavirus a condition for employment in the National Health Service (NHS).
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested the government could consider making the move earlier this week, with the Johnson administration launching the consultation on mandatory vaccination for frontline health and care staff on Thursday.
The conditions could be for both Covid-19 and influenza for health and wider social care workers who are “in contact with patients and people receiving care”.
“It would mean only those who are fully vaccinated, unless medically exempt, could be deployed to deliver health and care services,” the government statement said.
The government suggested that demanding vaccination for NHS was not new, citing “longstanding” precedents such as the mandatory Hepatitis B vaccine for surgeons.
British lawmakers had already passed legislation demanding the vaccination of staff working in adult care homes, with all staff of Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated social care settings in England being expected to be fully vaccinated by November 11th, unless exempt.
Recent reports claimed mandatory vaccination for care home staff could result in a shortage of employees in the sector, with other reports that workers were leaving care settings for better-paid jobs.
The British government will go ahead with plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large venues this month, the government’s vaccines minister confirmed on Sunday.
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 6, 2021
A survey last month of care home managers by the Institute of Health and Social Care Management found that a third had said they had had staff resign over the requirement to be vaccinated. Half said they feared they would have to fire staff in the coming months who had refused.
Government figures predict that 40,000 of the half a million care home staff will not have been vaccinated by the November deadline.
The government is pressing on with the consultation despite confirming that 92 per cent of NHS staff had had their first dose and 88 per cent were now fully vaccinated. Earlier critics of the suggestion had said the condition was “not necessary” because so many staff had already been inoculated.
Lawyers quoted by The Times said that there could be legal challenges over the change of contract for the NHS’s 1.2 million-strong frontline workforce, saying that a blanket condition for all staff could be considered unlawful discrimination.
The Guardian reported that unvaccinated staff could be redeployed to back-office roles, while The Times claimed that they could also be dismissed.
The consultation launch comes as England prepares to enforce domestic vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large settings by the end of this month. Boris Johnson made the announcement on July 19th, with Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi doubling down on the message on Sunday, despite in January assuring Baroness Fox of Buckley that there would be no such measures put in place.
The government is also considering whether to reject the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice against vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds. Minister Zahawi and Health Secretary Sajid Javid contradicted each other — and in the case of Zahawi, his past self — over the issue of whether children can overrule their parents to be vaccinated, with the latter claiming that if the government goes ahead with vaccinating young teens, “the child’s will will prevail”.
12 to 15 Year Olds Can Defy Parents to Be Vaccinated, Says Health Sec Days After Vax Minister Denials https://t.co/EvZjXtU5w8
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 8, 2021