Covid: NHS staff likely to need Covid vaccination to keep job, health secretary hints

An NHS worker receives a Covid booster vaccine in August.
Sajid Javid looks set to make NHS staff get vaccinated. Credit: PA

NHS staff are soon likely to need a coronavirus vaccination if they want to remain in their job, the health secretary has suggested.

Sajid Javid told ITV News ministers "haven't made a final decision about whether we're going to make it compulsory, as we have done in the care sector, but our direction of travel is to do so".

It is not currently compulsory for those who work for the health service to get jabbed but due to the rise in coronavirus cases, it looks likely to be introduced to help reduce the spread.

The government will want all NHS staff to be vaccinated. Credit: PA

Mr Javid said there around 100,000 NHS workers who are not vaccinated, adding that when the compulsory vaccination policy was brought in for care workers "we saw many more people come forward and do the right thing and get vaccinated, that’s what I hope, if we can do the same thing with the NHS, we will see", he told Sky News.

“If they haven’t got vaccinated by now then there is an issue about patient safety and that’s something the government will take very seriously.”

Mr Javid declined to say when any such move would come into force, saying “it will take some time to get it through Parliament” and he would then want to give people time to come forward to get their jab.

But he added: “I don’t want to put a timeframe on it but it wouldn’t be months and months.”

Mr Javid has criticised “idiots” who campaign against vaccines and spread lies and falsehoods outside schools.

He told Sky News: “These people are doing so much damage."

Mr Javid added it is "heart-breaking to see, children going about what they should be doing, going to school every day, and you’ve got frankly these idiots outside their school spreading vicious lies.

“It is becoming a growing problem as time goes by.

“There are options, in terms of whether it’s an exclusion zone, or other potential action, I think it’s got to be done at a local level."

Mr Javid added he believes “we’ll have a normal Christmas” this year as he urged people to come forward and get their vaccines.

He told BBC Breakfast it is not necessary to implement Plan B of the winter Covid-19 precautions “at this point”.

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Asked about the festive season, he said: “This virus, we’ve seen already, what we know about it is it is unpredictable and I don’t think any sensible health secretary across the world would want to predict exactly where we’re going to be in three months’ time, or six months’ time, not least because there’s always the risk sadly of a new variant that could be more dangerous.”

The health secretary said he believes the best thing is take take daily precautions and get vaccinated.

“For all those people like me that are hoping and planning for a normal Christmas – which I do by the way, I think that’s where we’ll be, we’ll have a normal Christmas – if we want let’s just keep playing our part,” Mr Javid said.

He said he “of course” agrees with Boris Johnson that it will be a better Christmas than last year.

The investment in the NHS will help clear the Covid backlog and digitise services to make them more efficient. Credit: PA