Frontline staff in England’s health and social care settings may be required to get flu and CCP virus vaccines, the government said on Thursday.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched a six-week consultation on the proposal to make vaccination a condition of deployment for frontline workers in the sector.
Following a previous consultation, the government has stipulated in August that from Nov. 11, all care home workers and anyone entering a care home in England will have to prove they have had two doses of a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine unless they are exempt under the regulations.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies Social Care Working Group has already advised the government to expand the mandate because of the overlapping of patients and staff between the two sectors.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said the move aims to protect patients who are “most at risk of suffering serious consequences of COVID-19,” the disease caused by the CCP virus.
“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,” his statement reads.
The health secretary urged the unvaccinated NHS staff members to consider getting the jabs for their own health, regardless of what the consultation result may be.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme, professor Adam Finn from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said he believes mandatory vaccination is “like an admission of failure” of the government’s messaging strategy.
“It’s like saying you can’t either find the time or find the ability to explain to people why it makes sense and create the culture in which everybody does it because they understand why it’s important,” he said.
According to the DHSC, 92 percent of NHS trust staff across England have received one dose of a CCP virus vaccine, with 88 percent of staff having received both doses.
Among the local authorities, the percentage of fully vaccinated staff varies between around 78 to 94 percent.
Takeup rate of flu vaccination in the health service has increased from 14 percent in 2002 to 76 percent last year across England, with the lowest rate being 54 percent in some settings, the DHSC added.
In a survey conducted last month by the Institute of Health and Social Care Management and PA news agency, more than half of the responding care managers said the CCP virus vaccine mandate for care home staff will add to the staff shortage problem.