Covid vaccine uptake rates in London lowest in UK as NHS workers told 'no jab, no job'

Nurses at the Royal Free Hospital, London, simulate the administration of the Pfizer vaccine to support staff training ahead of the rollout
Covid-19 vaccines will be mandatory for NHS and social care workers in England from April 2022. Credit: PA

London NHS workers, who have the lowest coronavirus vaccine take up rate in country, are now being told to get the Covid jab or lose their job.  

Covid-19 vaccines will be mandatory for NHS and social care workers in England from April 2022, the health secretary has confirmed on Tuesday.

In an address in the commons on Tuesday afternoon, Sajid Javid said the new rule for all those working in the NHS and social care will be introduced from April 1.

Exemptions will be given to those who do not have face to face contact with patients and those who are medically exempt.

Three London NHS trusts - Barts Health NHS Trust, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust - have vaccine take-up rates as low as 80%. The national average is 90%. 

The government has already made jabs compulsory for those working in care homes, with rules taking effect next week.  

Last month, watchdogs raised concern that the requirement could worsen the "fragility" of the sector, with low-paid workers instead choosing jobs in hospitality and travel.

More than 100,000 people working in the NHS in England remain unvaccinated, according to Mr Javid.

Critics say the mandate could lead to mass redundancies, and some suggest encouragement rather than enforcement is a better approach. But former former NHS Trust chairman Roy Lilley told ITV News London mandatory vaccines should be brought in sooner than spring 2022.