THE Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, has welcomed government plans to revoke regulations that require double Covid-19 vaccination for health and social-care workers.
The Department of Health and Social Care announced on Monday: “Regulations making vaccines a condition of deployment for health and social care staff are set to be revoked, subject to public consultation and Parliamentary approval.” The Government had said that all NHS staff in England must be fully vaccinated by 1 April.
The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, told MPs on Monday that, given that the population was now better protected against hospitalisation from Covid-19, and “the dominant variant, Omicron, is intrinsically less severe,” it was right to review the policy. “While vaccination remains our very best line of defence against Covid-19, I believe that it is no longer proportionate to require vaccination as a condition of deployment through statute,” he said.
Bishop Mullally last month called on the Government to drop compulsory vaccination for NHS staff, because, she said, it would lead to staff shortages, especially among midwives (News, 28 January).
She wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “I’m grateful the Government has reviewed its position on mandatory vaccinations for NHS workers. The NHS can’t afford to lose one member of staff. I hope that the NHS and community leaders continue to engage with and encourage staff who are yet to be vaccinated to take up the offer.”
The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) also welcomed the Government’s change of mind. It had organised a letter to Mr Javid, signed by more than 550 vaccinated health professionals, urging him to “pause and review” the plans, which would be “potentially harmful, mistimed, discriminatory and unjust”.
The CMF said on Tuesday: “Christians working in health and social care have a variety of opinions about the value and use of vaccines. But the majority are vaccinated, and all are concerned to protect patients and colleagues.
“However, we believe that in all matters of treatment, there needs to be room for choice, conscience and reasonable accommodation of different beliefs. CMF members have overwhelmingly expressed a strong support for vaccinations, but many have also expressed alarm that the matter was to become a mandated issue. We welcome this change in government policy as a sensible recognition of the changing situation and the potential impact upon the NHS.”