Politics

Jonathan Van-Tam backs Chris Whitty on healthcare workers’ ‘responsibility’ to have Covid vaccine


JVT said they should consider whether they would want their own elderly parents to be cared for by people had not had the vaccination.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I agree with Professor Whitty in that I think healthcare workers have always had a professional responsibility to take steps themselves to prevent them from being in a position where they could harm patients through infectious diseases they might have.

“That’s been a very clear position on hepatitis B vaccine and performing invasive procedures, particularly surgery, for decades and decades.

“And so I think that’s the professional standard that everybody ought to adhere to.

“Now, the other way of framing this is saying, if you’re a consumer of healthcare, if you’re a patient or a relative, would you prefer a healthcare worker to attend you or your relative if they have been vaccinated against Covid, or would you not really mind either way?”

Only a week ago, the Government appeared to be in denial that there was even a problem. Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi that “accessibility” issues were behind the lower uptake among social care workers rather than refusal.

Labour’s shadow social care minister Liz Kendall obtained official data showing only 52 per cent of staff in care homes for the elderly in London have had the jab, compared with 74 per cent in the South East and the South West, 73 per cent in the North East & Yorkshire, and 72 per cent in the Midlands.

A study at a hospital in Leicester found only 71 per cent of white staff had taken up the vaccine, falling to 59 per cent of south Asian employees and a mere 37 per cent of black staff.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said around a third of social care staff have not received a jab, despite them being on the priority list.

Earlier this month, Vic Rayner, of National Care Forum, said under a third of its members had 70 per cent or more of staff vaccinated.

Speaking on LBC last week, Mr Zahawi asserted that low rates of vaccination among care homes staff were “partly driven by accessibility” and return visits by vaccination teams were leading to higher take-up.

“I think part of it is giving them much greater access to get their appointments at a time that’s convenient to them and of course make sure we share the information about how safe vaccines are,” he told LBC radio.

He pointed out: “The vaccination is not mandatory.”



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