Laura DonnellySun, 28 February 2021, 3:19 pm·3-min read
Almost a quarter of NHS staff in some parts of the country are refusing Covid jabs, with official statistics showing more than 200,000 health and care workers putting patients at risk.
NHS figures show that 91 percent of front line healthcare staff across the country have taken up the offer of a vaccine, but that dips to 76 per cent in London – the worst refusal rate.
In total, more than 41,000 front line healthcare workers in the capital, including medics, hospital porters, cleaners and laboratory staff, have not had the jab.
The national picture among care home staff is even worse, with uptake of less than 73 percent.
The statistics show that around 106,000 front line healthcare staff and more than 121,000 care workers have yet to take up the vaccine.
Last week, Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, said NHS and care home staff had a “professional responsibility” to get vaccinated, while the Queen said those who refuse the vaccine “ought to think about other people rather than themselves”.https://www.youtube.com/embed/ao3OwqM7lQ8?enablejsapi=1&modestbranding=1&origin=http://www.telegraph.co.uk&rel=0
Scientists and ministers are concerned that vaccination hesitancy, particularly in deprived areas, could create “pockets of infection” which continue to fuel transmission and slow down the efforts to ease lockdown.
There is particular concern about low levels of uptake among those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, including healthcare workers. But ministers are reluctant to make vaccination mandatory amid worres that the move could make those with doubts about the jabs more fearful.
It emerged last month that while 80 per cent of staff overall at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals in London had been vaccinated, the rate was around a quarter among black workers and lower still for Filipino staff.
An NHS spokesman said: “While it is for Government and Parliament to decide which groups of people are required to get the vaccine, the NHS national medical director and chief nurse agree with Chris Whitty, with the chair of the BMA and other professional leaders that NHS staff have a duty to be vaccinated unless they have a valid clinical reason not to do so.
“Any member of NHS staff who has not yet taken up the offer should speak to their employer about getting vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”
Martin Machray, the joint chief nurse for the NHS in London, told The Sunday Times that health and care employers were organising staff information events and trying to make it as easy and convenient as possible for workers to get their vaccines.
To address concerns and tackle misinformation, NHS London is tailoring materials for specific groups, with information videos translated into some of the most commonly spoken languages in London.
“Vaccinating staff is critical to the safe running of health and care settings, so we are working with trusts to ensure that all staff feel confident in taking the vaccine,” Mr Machray said.