UK: Health Secretary announces U-turn on mandatory National Health Service jabs, but ‘makes no apology’ for original plans

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Around 77,000 frontline NHS staff have not been vaccinated

Health secretary Sajid Javid has announced the government’s U-turn on mandatory vaccines for NHS health and social care workers as reported by the UK independent.

He had been facing pressure to ditch the requirement for health workers in England to be double-vaccinated by 1 April amid fears it would lead to a major staffing crisis.

In the Commons, he told MPs that Britain has passed the peak of the winter spike in Covid cases and that the Omicron variant is “intrinsically less severe” than previous strains.

He added: “When taken together with the first factor that we now have greater population protection, the evidence shows that the risk of presentation to emergency care or hospital admission with Omicron is approximately half of that for Delta.

Before the U-turn this evening by health secretary Sajid Javid, ministers had been facing pressure this week to end the requirement for staff in England to be double jabbed by 1 April, amid fears it will lead to a major staffing crisis.

Frontline NHS and wider social care staff would have needed their first dose by Thursday in order to be double jabbed by the deadline.

Ms Aslet-Clark said she is “very pro-vaccine normally” and believes that jabs to protect against infections such as hepatitis B are “sensible”.