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Two Thirds Of People Support Compulsory Covid Jabs For NHS And Care Staff

3 min read

Exclusive: New polling has shown that two thirds of those surveyed support Covid-19 vaccines being made mandatory for NHS and care home staff.

An exclusive survey for PoliticsHome, conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, found that 70% of those polled were in favour of compulsory jabs for NHS staff, while 71% support care home workers being required to have the vaccine too.

The polling for PoliticsHome, conducted last week with a sample size of 1,500, follows Sajid Javid’s announcement that Covid jabs will be compulsory for all frontline NHS staff in England from April next year.

Staff with medical reasons for not having a vaccine, and workers who do not have face-to-face contact with patients, will be exempt from the rule.

A government ban on unvaccinated people working in care homes came into effect on Thursday last week.

Announcing the move to the House of Commons, the Health Secretary described his decision as imperative to “avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS”.

“The weight of the data shows our vaccinations have kept people safe and they have saved lives. This is especially true for vulnerable people in health and care settings,” Javid said.

“I’m mindful not only of our need to protect human life, but of our imperative to protect the NHS and those services upon which we all rely,” he added.

To date, more than 93% of frontline NHS workers have received a first dose of the vaccine, while 90% are fully vaccinated.The new polling also found that people widely support mandatory vaccination for a range of professions outside of healthcare.

Almost two thirds (68%) of people polled think that teachers should be required to have the vaccine.

The figure then slightly decreases for MPs (61%), professional football players (57%) and civil servants (56%).

Meanwhile, more than half (56%) said they support Covid vaccines being made mandatory for staff belonging to any industry “if their employers insist”.

Despite strong public support for mandatory jabs across a range of sectors, trade unions have described Javid’s move to impose them on NHS frontline staff as causing “more harm than good”.

“We are really concerned that the government hasn’t listened to what many people told them during the consultation, which is that potentially they are reaching for a sledgehammer on this using the law,” Helga Pile, Deputy Head of Health at Unison said.

“We’ve got over 90% of staff who’ve already had the vaccine and the methods that we’ve been working with employers on have been really successful in terms of persuasion, giving people reassurance and making them know that if they do have a reaction, they can have time off.

“That’s worked really well, but now we potentially risk undoing some of that by compelling people.” 

Although trade unions have spoken out against the Health Secretary's decision, almost two thirds of people surveyed (67%) say they are not sympathetic to those “unwilling or hesitant” receive a Covid vaccine.

Only 33% said they sympathised with those who refuse to be jabbed. 

Commenting on polling around mandatory vaccines for health and care staff, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “NHS and care staff do amazing work and we are thankful to those who have chosen to get the vaccine.

“This is about patient safety – we know vaccines work and if those in hospital and care are exposed to Covid-19 it could be fatal. It’s our duty to ensure that they are as safe as can be.”

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