Covid-19 vaccinations will be made mandatory for all frontline health staff in England – including nurses in general practice and the community – from April 2022.
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said all clinical and non-clinical staff working in health services who have face-to-face contact with patients will ‘have to be vaccinated’.
He added: ‘We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and of course protect the NHS itself.’
The spring deadline was set to allow unvaccinated staff to receive both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and ‘minimise risks to workforce capacity over the winter period’, the Government said in a document outlining the policy.
There will also be medical exemptions available for the Covid-19 vaccinations. It will be up to the CQC-regulated contractor to ensure this is the case.
The announcement comes in response to a six-week consultation launched in September looking at whether to make both flu and Covid-19 vaccinations ‘a condition of deployment’ for frontline health workers in order to protect patients.
However, the flu jab will not be made mandatory because of the ‘need to balance’ the flu programme with the time needed for healthcare staff to get both Covid vaccine doses, the Government said.
More to follow…