Figures published on Tuesday by the government estimates that as many as 1230,000 frontline health and social care staff in England could lose their jobs next spring if they refuse to have the vaccine.
The Government document warned that the Health Secretary’s announcement that all full time NHS staff must have the vaccine by 1 April 2022 could have a “significant impact” on the health and care workforce.
By the end of the grace on 1 April, it is estimated that around 88,000 health workers, including 73,000 NHS staff, along with 35,000 social care workers will remain unvaccinated.
If there is any further reduction in staffing levels this “may lead to reduced or delayed services,” as the NHS are already facing a record backlog of care and grappling with high vacancy rates as many have already left.
Sajid Javid has said that he does “not want to see anyone have to walk away from their job” and he is urging health and social care staff to get the vaccine.
Javid told LBC Radio, “The vast majority of NHS workers are already vaccinated and I want to, of course, thank them for that.
“They’ve done that not only to protect themselves or their colleagues, most of all I think they’ve done it to protect their patients.
“We know that people in hospital, they’re already very vulnerable, and the last thing they want is to be exposed to Covid-19 when it could have been prevented, and that can be fatal for them in that condition.
“I think, ultimately, this is the right call – it is the duty of the NHS and the government to do everything that we can to protect vulnerable people.”
Those who do refuse to have the Covid vaccine could be removed from their roles and end up in non patient facing positions.
“I just do think it is important to be doing everything we can, because also what I don’t want to see – most of all what I don’t want to see – is someone … that’s vulnerable being exposed to Covid when it could have been prevented, and perhaps they might even die from that, and I think that would be totally unacceptable.”
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers and deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the “majority of NHS leaders do understand and do support the mandation of the Covid vaccine.”
Mortimer told Times Radio, “Clearly, what we need to focus on between now and April is talking to people, engaging with them.
“If there are misunderstandings or misapprehensions about the vaccine, reassuring people, educating them, and that’s the job of the next four or five months.”
He added, “Any situation where we lose people just puts extra strain on services and I think, as the Government acknowledged in its own impact assessment, risks impacting on service delivery.
“We only have so many people and that may impact on what we can do, but as I’ve said, one step at a time.
“The issue now is to focus on engaging with people and trying to persuade them and explain to them the benefits to them and their families, as well as to their colleagues and patients, of having the vaccine.”