31st January, 2022
British Health Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to make a U-Turn on the mandatory vaccinations for NHS and social care works.
The volte face comes amid warnings of crippling staff shortages if the plan went ahead.
Mr Javid is expected today to meet ministers on the Covid-Operations Cabinet committee to finalise the U-Turn, reported the Telegraph.
The mandatory jab requirement was meant to come into force on April 1, meaning this Thursday would have been the last day staff could book in for a jab.
On Friday those without jabs would have faced dismissal warnings and been asked to work out their notice periods until March 31.
But now, ministers are set to scrap the plan amid fears it could force the NHS to sack around 80,000 staff who remain unvaccinated.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke confirmed that Britain is indeed looking at possibly changing rules on mandatory vaccination for health service staff.
“We do recognise those realities and that does open a space where we can look at this again,” Clarke told Sky.
Mr Clarke said the policy of mandatory jabs is something that ministers have “always kept under review”.
“We’ve been trying to strike, throughout this pandemic, the right balance between having the maximum impact in terms of measures that support public safety in the face of the virus, but also have the minimum impact in terms of our wider freedoms as a society,” he said.
One in 20 NHS staff – the equivalent of 77,591 people – have still not had their first jab.
In London, one in ten staff are unvaccinated.
The Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives had previously called on the Government to extend the deadline to prevent mass shortages in the health service.
Under the new rules, care home staff, who were required to be double jabbed or lose their jobs in November, are expected to return to work in the sector.
After the mandatory vaccination laws came into effect last year, around 40,000 people lost their jobs.
Sources: Daily Mail and Sky News