Norfolk NHS staff facing sack for refusing Covid jab insist 'we don't need to be forced'

NHS workers tell ITV News Anglia's Matthew Hudson why they believe staff should not face the sack for refusing a Covid jab:

A group of NHS workers are rallying against Covid jab mandates in Norfolk, as they oppose a policy that will result in staff who refuse the jab facing the sack within weeks.

Crowds gathered at a park in King's Lynn on Sunday, as similar demonstrations were held up and down the country.

Mariana Visan, an NHS dentist based in Norwich, told ITV News Anglia: “From a personal point of view, I feel that I don’t need to be forced to do this because it’s a kind of treatment, and I know for treatment you always need to have consent.“And I just want my right to exercise my profession and help my patients.

Mental health nurse Claire Biggie, another demonstrator, said: “We all have choice and we all have human rights with what we decide to do with our bodies or not do.

Attendees at Sunday's Stand in the Park event at The Walks park, at the bandstand in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

“If you want to do something, for example take the vaccine, that’s your choice as well as if you don’t want to take the vaccine - that’s also someone’s choice.”

The demonstration was organised by Stand in the Park, which holds gatherings in parks around the world every Sunday.

The group, which began in Australia, says on its website it is "against lockdowns, harmful new laws, the ‘pandemic’ and the people behind ‘The Great Reset’."

The Great Reset is a conspiracy theory baselessly suggesting the pandemic was triggered deliberately to pave the way for an authoritarian socialist world government run by a secretive cabal of capitalists and politicians.

The theory took off after a dramatic video depicting environmental chaos launched by Prince Charles for the Davos 2020 summit described the pandemic as a chance to create a newly sustainable global economy.

It is not suggested NHS staff at the event in King's Lynn on Sunday shared the group's viewpoints.

Many protesters at the event were eager to emphasise to ITV News Anglia's reporter that they were not "anti-vaxxers" but were "pro consent" regarding vaccination.

Health service staff were at the King's Lynn event on Saturday as protests around England ramped up ahead of a looming deadline for NHS workers to be jabbed or face the sack.

People bore signs carrying 'my body my choice' slogans at Sunday's event. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Demonstrators at Sunday's event in Norfolk carried signs reading slogans including: "2020 they were clapped, 2022 they'll be sacked," and "freedom of choice."

Frontline health staff must be vaccinated against Covid with two jabs by 1 April – meaning they must have had their first vaccine by 3 February.

Healthcare employers have been told that from the following day – 4 February – staff who remain unvaccinated should be invited to a meeting and told that a potential outcome may be dismissal.

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It is thought up to 70,000 frontline NHS workers remain unvaccinated.

The policy is similar to one enforced among registered care workers in England late last year, which critics said exacerbated a staff shortage in the sector.

Covid jab mandate exemptions are being given to NHS workers who do not have face-to-face contact with patients and those who are medically exempt.