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The government has launched a consultation today on plans for NHS staff in England to be required to be double-jabbed for Covid-19 and to have received the seasonal flu vaccine.
Workers who have not received both coronavirus vaccinations could be barred from seeing patients. Statistics suggest that as many as one in 12 NHS workers (8%) have not had their first jab. Nationally, 88% of staff have received both doses, but data published today suggests that in some trusts uptake is as low as 78% for both doses.
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: “Many patients being treated in hospitals and other clinical settings are most at risk of suffering serious consequences of Covid-19, and we must do what we can to protect them.
“It’s so clear to see the impact vaccines have against respiratory viruses which can be fatal to the vulnerable, and that’s why we’re exploring mandatory vaccines for both Covid-19 and flu.
“We will consider the responses to the consultation carefully but, whatever happens, I urge the small minority of NHS staff who have not yet been jabbed to consider getting vaccinated – for their own health as well as those around them.”
Workers in care homes must be double-jabbed by 11 November after a similar consultation for social care began in the spring. Unless enforced on a faster timetable, any new regulations emerging from today's consultation may not come into play until April 2022.