Boris Govt to Mandate Vaccines for NHS Staff ‘As Soon as Possible’: Report

Street art graffiti paying tribute to the NHS, (National Health Service), is pictured on a wall in Glynn, north of Belfast on May 5, 2020. - The number of people killed by the coronavirus in the UK stands at 32,313, according to official figures on May 5 2020, the second …
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Britain’s health secretary is reportedly planning to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for healthcare workers in the National Health Service (NHS), despite similar requirements for care home workers resulting in tens of thousands threatening to quit.

The vaccine requirement for NHS employees has long been mooted, but has yet to be implemented over objections from unions and civil liberties advocates.

A report in The Times claimed that Health Secretary Sajid Javid is looking to introduce a diktat with sway over the health service “as soon as possible”, potentially forcing many once hailed as “heroes” out of a job.

Mr Javid is said to believe that requiring vaccinations for healthcare workers will slow the spread of the Chinese coronavirus in hospitals.

While the vast majority of NHS staff have been vaccinated, a reported 106,351 healthcare workers have not. From early on in the vaccination drive, the NHS has said that employees from ethnic minority backgrounds were less likely to take the jab — meaning they may be the hardest hit if vaccines become mandatory for employment.

In January, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) quango issued a report claiming that “structural and institutional racism and discrimination” played a critical role in the vaccine hesitancy among minority groups, potentially opening up the government mandate to legal challenges on grounds of discrimination.

Former Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi had previously described mandatory vaccines as un-British, saying that it is “not how we do things in the UK.”

Yet, in July, the House of Commons voted in favour of making vaccines a requirement for care home workers in homes registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

A deadline for full vaccination was set for November 11th, with some exemptions applying. Despite growing concern from unions that tens of thousands of care home staff may be forced out of their jobs as a winter Covid crisis supposedly looms, Mr Javid has so far refused to extend the deadline.

The Health Secretary is said to be considering council tax hikes in order to fund a pay rise for care home staff, with a source close to Mr Javid telling The Times: “We need to fix the wage differentials between what the average care home worker is being paid versus other comparable skill-level jobs.

“There has got to be a significant uplift in wages for care home workers … It’s got to be a combination of the funding that comes from the social care precept and some central government funding.”

Though Mr Javid said that the government will look to avoid lockdown restrictions being imposed again on the nation during the winter, a source told the paper that Javid has not ruled it out.

Intriguingly, the paper claimed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shied away from any talk of a lockdown until his big climate change summit in Glasgow is completed, with a source saying: “No one wants to spook the horses.”

Last week, Javid warned of a potential winter wave at a Downing Street press conference, in which he said that in order for British citizens to retain their “freedoms” and stop another lockdown, it was crucial that people get vaccinated and the vulnerable sign up for third jab booster shots.

The recently installed health secretary said that it will be crucial to “get through winter and enjoy Christmas with our loved ones”. The comment echoes a previous promise from the government last year, which they ultimately went back on — cancelling Christmas for millions in southern England.

Aside from the potential NHS vaccine mandate, Javid is also said to be making preparations for extending the booster programme to those under the age of 50 by Christmas. However, the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has yet to rule on whether it would be necessary and safe.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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