Mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations ‘reasonable’ says EHRC

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The government’s human rights watchdog has suggested it would be reasonable for care homes to make Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for staff, which could pave the way for the Whitehall to introduce new legislation for people in certain professions.

In its response to a consultation on whether vaccines should be mandatory in care settings, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said a “proportionate approach” to requiring Covid-19 jabs for care home staff could “help ease restrictions and allow them to perform their jobs safely, and residents to live more independently”.

It said: “In legislating for mandatory vaccination the government is right to prioritise protection of the right to life for residents and staff.

“In our view it is therefore reasonable to require care home staff to be vaccinated in order to work directly with older and disabled people, subject to some important safeguards to ensure the requirement remains proportionate and to minimise the risk of unlawful discrimination or breaches of care workers’ human rights.”

If the government was to take forward plans for mandatory vaccinations among care home staff, the EHRC said it should take steps to remove the risk of indirect discrimination for workers who are unable to have the vaccine for medical reasons; ensure access to jabs is easy for all workers; and make sure there is no financial detriment resulting from having to be vaccinated, such as loss of pay if they suffer side effects and need to take time off work.

It added that any legislation should have a “sunset clause” – a date at which the requirement would cease – and should be reviewed regularly to ensure it remains proportionate. Clear guidance should also be provided to employers.

A spokesperson for the EHRC said: “Requiring care home staff to be vaccinated offers a way of protecting older residents who are most at risk of severe illness and death due to Covid-19. This would support their right to a private and family life, to health, to live independently, as well as reducing the risk to workers.

“Any requirements should be implemented proportionately with exemptions for the small number of people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Mandatory vaccination it is not a new idea, as some NHS trusts do require staff to have hepatitis B vaccines.”

The government has also been exploring the introduction of a similar requirement for health workers, with vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi having suggested that it would be irresponsible not to consider compulsory jabs for NHS staff.

He told Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “It would be incumbent on any responsible government to have the debate, to do the thinking as to how we go about protecting the most vulnerable by making sure that 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.”

Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire suggested that “threatening” NHS staff would be less effective than encouraging those that had doubts about getting vaccinated.

“Given we have 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,” she said.

So-called “no jab, no job” policies for new starters have been explored by several care home operators. Care UK, one of the UK’s largest operators, has been asking all candidates at the application and interview stage whether they have had, or would be willing to have, the vaccine, while Barchester Healthcare said it would not hire staff who refuse to have a jab.

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8 Responses to Mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations ‘reasonable’ says EHRC

  1. Avatar
    Norah Jarvis 5 Jun 2021 at 4:00 pm #

    So our rights are been taking away. If it is mandatory, it should be up to the individual. Many people may have to leave jobs they love for not having the vaccine …

  2. Avatar
    Eric Wooding 6 Jun 2021 at 8:24 am #

    Why not have regular testing instead?

  3. Avatar
    Megan 7 Jun 2021 at 7:53 pm #

    It’s wrong if you make it mandontry I agree with Norah! Your taking a job away from someone, that they enjoy. Then your also making them jobless for a start? Then what happens they struggle to find a job? Mental health dibs. The public doesn’t excists no more they just want population gone, it’s disgusting!, then people can’t pay bills lose houses end up on street, it’s wrong what you are thinking of doing! We all have a right! We all have a say

  4. Avatar
    Iwona 13 Jun 2021 at 7:12 am #

    Research on these preparations is not finished yet. Not everyone wants to participate in a medical experiment. Who was protecting my family when I was working with covid patients? No one. I came back home and thought not to endanger my family, but I was working … I got sick, no one in my family caught. Who will look after my son, if what happens to me after vaccination. No thanks!

  5. Avatar
    Graeme Willis 17 Jun 2021 at 9:58 am #

    EHRC is a government body endorsing a government decision. Not really a balanced view then.

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    Graham 17 Jun 2021 at 10:28 am #

    The ehrc are well out of order regarding this They are sucking up to the government. We are now in a communist country where your right to make choices regarding your body is being taken away. They argue that it will protect the vulnerable what a load of complete rubbish. There is no data or proof that you still can’t pass it on it’s still a trial drug which can have long term affects.witch you can die from. As some poor people have. People need to stand up for their rights or otherwise this government will make other decisions for you regarding your lives. I for one will refuse. Not just because of my belief that this is being forced onto us. But that the pharmaceutical companies are exempt from prosecution if you die from it so its a win win situation for them. I would prefer to live in the wild for my remaining years than be ordered to do this breach of my human right. A right that was fought for in two world wars . And a promise made that the west would protect its people from injustice

  7. Avatar
    Anna 21 Jun 2021 at 12:23 pm #

    Wrong and horrible no more human rights we are being treated worse then animals, working hard all that time and risking our life’s and our family’s , looking after vulnerable people, sometimes double shifts as understaffed social care industry . We had shortage off Ppe and masks testing just once a week , everyone was sitting at home being paid and we healthcare workers had to work, very hard with all our love. Now just because we refuse vaccine they will get rid off us only if we won’t take vaccine I think that is sick and horrible.

  8. Avatar
    Andrew Town 21 Jun 2021 at 9:38 pm #

    Much is now coming to light about these treatments, from Myocarditis, affected menstrual cycles and more. There is no precedent as the Hep B vaccine was fully licenced. These treatments are fully licenced in 2023 pending data at that time, so this argument is a little disingenuous to say the least. This is not how we do things in this country. I will have to walk away if its forced.

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