Vaccination requirements for doctors and nurses in Great Britain will probably be overturned

In London on Monday there were increasing signs that the planned vaccination requirement for doctors and nurses in the National Health Service (NHS) would be overturned. Several newspapers reported that the decision had been made in the government and that Health Minister Sajid Javid only wanted to have it approved in the so-called Corona Cabinet. Nurses in old people’s homes, for whom vaccination was mandatory last year, would also be affected by the reversal.

The government had recently lifted all of the restrictions imposed on England at the start of the omicron wave, including the requirement to wear masks. From February 11th, the last remaining measures are to be abolished, including the obligation to test for those entering the country and the five-day quarantine for infected people.

The general all-clear for the Omicron variant and the fear that the NHS could lose up to 80,000 doctors and nurses are the reasons for the change of course in compulsory vaccination. A similar phenomenon had been observed after the introduction of compulsory vaccination for geriatric nurses. It is estimated that 40,000 of them had to resign because they were unable to present proof of vaccination by the deadline. They would now probably be reinstated because the sector is suffering from significant staff shortages.

“Catastrophic Effects”

The proportion of unvaccinated workers in the state NHS, which includes not only doctors and nurses, is five percent. The central representatives for nurses, midwives and general practitioners had repeatedly pushed for a postponement of compulsory vaccination in the past few weeks. The impact of this was described as “catastrophic”, also because the NHS was still under the stress of winter at the time of the planned introduction. After the reports about the upcoming change of course, several associations expressed relief. The prospect was also welcomed in the ranks of the Conservative Party.

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According to the original plans announced last March, the obligation to provide proof of vaccination should take effect from April 1st. For this, the unvaccinated should have received their first injection by this Thursday at the latest. Unvaccinated people who could not be transferred to a patient-distant department would have been threatened with dismissal in April. The Daily Telegraph reported that the policy change will probably not be officially announced until the middle of this week, possibly to get a few more vaccinations. Many NHS workers had been persuaded to get vaccinated by the vaccination announcement.

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