NHS vaccine mandate: Kingston community shows support

Kingston residents have shown support for the government’s new NHS vaccination mandate, though some were concerned about delays in healthcare and violation of personal freedoms.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed last week that the covid-19 vaccine will be made mandatory for all frontline NHS workers in England from April next year. This will put around 100,000 unvaccinated individuals in danger of losing their jobs.

According to NHS England, as it currently stands 90 per cent of NHS workers have had the covid-19 vaccine however the new mandate hopes to increase that number.

Local resident and company director William Jonkler, 32, said: “[I’m] happy to see the government taking these measures. [They are] in line with lots of previous health care mandates and a sensible step given the seriousness of Covid-19.”

Ken Surridge, 60, a scientist and educator, said he supported the government’s decision but found it “disappointing” that the mandate was even necessary.

He said: “People who work in healthcare should follow the best medical advice. Anyone unwilling to do so has no place in the medical profession.”

Some locals disagreed with the government’s decision and expressed concerns regarding the consequences of potentially losing thousands of members of staff.

Marian Lax, 70, has 40 years’ experience in nursing and worked as intermediate care manager for Your Healthcare, a health and social care provider.

She said: “That will result in bed closures, increased waits in A&E, delayed discharges, reduced community nursing care, the list goes on.

“At what point does it stop? Freedom to make your own decision is democracy, if this is taken away then we are lurching towards dictatorship.”

She also questioned the logic of the mandate given that NHS patients themselves will not be under the same obligations.

Others have challenged why the mandate for the NHS differed to that of social care.

Kate Holbrook, 47, a local health care assistant in a Bupa care home said: “Surely the deadline for NHS should have been sooner or the same as social care.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has said that whilst the BMA has serious concerns regarding mandatory vaccination, it was glad that it won’t be coming into force until next spring as they previously recommended.

“[…] There is an important distinction between believing every healthcare worker should be vaccinated and advocating mandatory vaccinations for all NHS staff. Doing this comes with its own practical and also ethical implications – such as the right for anyone to make their own private healthcare decisions.”

You can view its full statement here.

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