Regulation 12 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014
NHS staff may be legally required to receive a Covid-19 vaccination under new government plans, a Tory minister has confirmed.
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed “we are absolutely thinking about” whether to make the jab mandatory for health workers.
It comes days after the government finished a consultation on whether to make the jab compulsory for care home staff.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, final plans to oblige care home workers to be vaccinated – already discussed for months – could be given the go-ahead this week.
Today Mr Zahawi confirmed the government is looking at the idea for NHS staff too.
He told Sky News: “We’ve been consulting in terms of a condition of deployment into social care. I think it’s only right that we look at the healthcare system as well.
“It’s absolutely the right thing, it would be incumbent on any responsible government, to have the debate, to do thinking, as to how we go about protecting the most vulnerable by making sure those who look after them are vaccinated.
“There is precedent for this. Obviously surgeons get vaccinated for Hepatitis B. So it’s something we are absolutely thinking about.”
A Whitehall source told the Sunday Telegraph: “There are very early conversations taking place.
“It would save lives and there is precedent with the guidance for doctors to get the hepatitis B vaccine.”
The government is planning to amend Regulation 12 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 to require care home staff to have a vaccine.
There would be exemptions for care home staff who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons.
Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire raised doubts over the rise of compulsory jabs. The Shadow Leader of the Commons told Sky: “Given we’ve got a recruitment crisis in parts of the NHS I think it’s far more important we try and work with staff rather than against them.
“Threatening staff I don’t think is a good idea.”
The requirement – which unlike the proposed Covid-19 jab plans is not written in law – means NHS staff who could come into contact with sharp instruments, bone or teeth need to have the hepatitis B vaccine.
The proposal to make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory for NHS staff was already discussed in March.
At the time, it was reported that 200,000 NHS and care employees had refused the offer of a vaccine.
A source told the Daily Mail : “It is extraordinary that so many people in the health sector appear to have turned down the vaccine.”
In February, Care UK, one of Britain’s largest care home operators, announced that it would be operating a no jab, no job policy for new starters.
The company said: “Everyone applying for a role which requires them to go into a home will be expected to have been vaccinated before they start work.”
The latest NHS figures show that 88 per cent of healthcare workers in England have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
It comes as more than half of people in their 30s in England have received a coronavirus vaccination in a period of little over two weeks, new figures reveal.
Overall, more than 32 million people have been vaccinated with a first dose in England, almost three-quarters of the total adult population, while more than 21 million people have had both doses.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he is “absolutely thrilled” at the progress in the 30s age group and thanked those coming forward “to do their bit to defeat the virus”.
He added: “As we enjoy the reopening of pubs and restaurants again, vaccines will play a crucial role in protecting us and those around us.
“Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and I urge everybody to take up the offer when eligible.”