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To: Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid

Open letter from vaccinated healthcare workers on mandatory vaccinations

Open letter from vaccinated healthcare workers on mandatory vaccinations

We are a group of vaccinated, frontline healthcare professionals and we urge the government to pause and review plans on mandating vaccination for frontline healthcare workers in England. We support vaccines, but whilst some people may qualify for a medical exemption, others might have deeply held medical, religious or philosophical concerns which should be understood and respected.

We propose that such a mandate is potentially harmful, is mistimed and is discriminatory and unjust.

It may cause more harm than good: with 7% of our NHS workforce unvaccinated this will mean thousands of staff leaving the NHS, further exacerbating the vacancies that already exist in the NHS and social care system. With a large backlog of patients still to be seen, as well as the increase in stress-related medical conditions caused by the pandemic, this is a time when we can least afford to lose large numbers of staff.

It is mistimed because the emergence of Omicron means a new set of data on the disease's virulence and transmissibility. A pause to consider the benefits against the risks would be helpful as well as to explain how often staff will need to be vaccinated. If immunity dips every 3 months, is this what we are asking of healthcare staff? It would be an even greater shame to lose staff when the evolving scientific picture is so obviously unclear.

Finally, it may be discriminatory. The government’s own Equality Impact Assessment indicates that there are higher levels of vaccine hesitancy among some ethnic minority groups and groups that observe particular religions. Compelling vaccination risks deepening historical suspicion and penalising staff who have risked their lives during the pandemic.

Many vaccinated staff like us are considering some form of action to stand alongside our colleagues.

We urge you to pause the process and consider whether this is the right way forward for our health service.

Why is this important?

“I’ve worked for two years throughout this pandemic…with inadequate PPE…doing overtime…seeing many die in front of me. And now I’m going to lose my job”.

This is just one story of many I have heard from colleagues who stand to lose their jobs when the government’s vaccination mandate for healthcare workers in England comes into force on 1st April. In practice, those who haven’t had a first dose by 3rd February are at risk.

I am vaccinated and believe vaccines have supported our route out of lockdowns. However, for some people they are not medically appropriate, while others might have deeply held religious or philosophical objections, which should be respected where possible

I am calling on the government to pause the decision and rather than use coercion and threat, to use persuasion and encouragement; to understand more the deeply held reasons that many of our colleagues have, and to respect the right of people to choose. If you would like to support this, please sign this open letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid.

How it will be delivered

Letter to broadsheet newspaper with linked press release

Category

Updates

2022-01-28 09:01:11 +0000

We are over 500 signatures! We plan to hand this in on Wednesday 2nd February so please share with others one final time. If you would be willing to speak to the media about this on 2-3rd February please contact me at [email protected].

2022-01-27 15:27:17 +0000

500 signatures reached

2022-01-22 11:36:11 +0000

Thanks for all who have signed so far. There is significant momentum building nationally. A helpful article outlining ethical concerns in more detail can be found here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20502877.2022.2025651
I am fully in support of vaccination but for the reasons expressed above and by many of you in the comments, this is an unnecessary and damaging move on many levels. Please share with others to sign, thank you

2022-01-12 22:06:54 +0000

100 signatures reached

2022-01-12 17:34:27 +0000

50 signatures reached

2022-01-12 08:54:23 +0000

25 signatures reached

2022-01-11 22:05:38 +0000

10 signatures reached