Healthcare professionals might not be legally required to be double vaccinated to work for the NHS, the Health Secretary has confirmed.

Sajid Javid announced the Government’s plans to ditch the ‘no jab, no job’ mandate in the House of Commons on Monday, January 31, 2022.

However, the new plans are undergoing a review, potentially meaning that thousands of unjabbed care staff will still lose their jobs. Vaccination data shows that 80,000 NHS employees have not been double jabbed, putting them at risk of losing their jobs.

According to the Health Secretary, less severe Omicron disease and more public protection against COVID-19 has triggered the Government U-turn.

Whilst in Parliament, Mr Javid said: “Subject to the responses and the will of this house, the Government will revoke the regulations.

“I have always been clear that our rules must remain proportionate and balanced, and of course, should we see another dramatic change in the virus, it would be only responsible to review this policy again.”

The vaccine requirement was first announced when the Delta strain of COVID-19 was the most dominant variant, Government officials have said.

“The vaccine mandate was the right policy at the time, supported by clinical evidence and the Government makes no apology for it,” said Sajid Javid.

In response to the Health Secretary’s announcement, some Labour MPs are furious, with Rachael Maskell saying that NHS workers were “bullied and threatened”, while the previous Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed that the ‘no jab, no job policy’ was “short-sighted”.

Ms Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, said: “The Health Secretary has not only bullied and threatened our NHS staff at a time when they are so fragile, but ignored the royal colleges and all of the trade unions in saying that the initial statutory instruments should not have been put.

“In fact, he hasn’t made it clear today that both will be withdrawn, so I ask him to make that clear, but also to say that for all of those which to date have lost their employment, whether or not they will be reinstated with continuity of employment including their pensions and their other conditions?”

Mr Corbyn said: “I support vaccination, but persuasion is much more powerful than compulsion.”

The Royal College of Nursing has credited the U-turn, with one in 20 frontline NHS workers currently at risk of being made redundant.

Patricia Marquis, Director of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “We’ve been calling for it for some time now saying that mandating these vaccines is not the way to go about getting people to have the vaccination. So, we absolutely would support the scrapping of the regulations.

“We would say that COVID is still a serious disease and would absolutely urge all nursing staff to get vaccinated, but the situation has changed in that Omicron is serious for those who are unvaccinated but actually overall as a country things have improved.”

However, former care home employees are angry after thousands lost their job when a vaccine requirement was enforced for nursing home staff in November 2021.

During the latest peak of the pandemic, one in 15 people contracted COVID-19, the Office for National Statistics has reported.

More than 80% of the population are fully vaccinated and more than 60% have received their booster jab, Mr Javid revealed.

He said: “Rules must remain proportionate and balanced and if there is another dramatic change in the virus, it would be responsible to review this policy again.”

It is still uncertain whether the Government’s plans will be reversed as they are currently under consultation.

If being double jabbed is made compulsory for healthcare workers on April 1, thousands of frontline staff will lose their jobs, with 40,000 employees in the sector already made redundant.

The director of the National Association of Care and Support Workers, Mark Topps, said: “We have lost people with years of experience and skills that we won’t ever get back and it is highly unlikely these staff members will want to come back into the social care sector after the way they have been treated by Government.”

Mr Javid said: “I am grateful to the millions of health and care colleagues who have come forward and done the right thing, keeping thousands of vulnerable people out of hospital.”

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Coronavirus: UK instructed to stay at home this weekend

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that staying at home this weekend…

Endocrine and Metabolic Link to Coronavirus

An article has been published in the journal Nature which looks at…

Interview with Laura Thornton: a diabetes hero on the Coronavirus frontline

We spoke to Laura Thornton, a 28-year-old ambulance technician working on the…