(CMR) National Health Service (NHS) frontline workers and social care staff will need to have COVID-19 vaccinations in England to continue in their jobs, health minister Sajid Javid said on Tuesday. The health workers will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by April 1, making it a mandatory condition of employment.
In a statement, Javid said health and social care staff “carry a unique responsibility”.
“All those working in the NHS and social care will have to be vaccinated. We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and of course protect the NHS itself,” Javid told parliament.
He said only those who do not have face-to-face contact with patients or who are medically exempt would not be required to be vaccinated when the new rule comes into effect next year.
This move will see England following countries like France, Italy, and some US states in ordering healthcare workers to get vaccinated.
England also has made COVID-19 vaccines compulsory for care home workers; this will be effective Thursday.
“No one in the NHS or care that is currently unvaccinated should be scapegoated, singled out, or shamed,” Javid said. “This is about supporting them to make a positive choice to protect vulnerable people, to protect their colleagues and, of course, to protect themselves.”
He said consideration was also being given to making the flu vaccine mandatory; however, that would not be done at this time.