UK health secretary leans toward mandatory COVID vaccines for NHS workers

U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he is leaning toward mandating COVID-19 vaccines for NHS staff, but a final decision is yet to be made.

“There was a consultation on this, it just closed. We’ve yet to make a final decision,” Javid told Sky News on Monday. “I am leaning towards doing it,” he added.

“The people in the NHS care were rightly offered vaccines right at the start when we first had the vaccine,” Javid said. “So if they haven’t got vaccinated by now, then there is an issue about patient safety and that is something the government would take very seriously.” Last month, more than 100,000 NHS England staff were still not vaccinated.

If mandates are approved by the U.K. parliament, Javid said “it would not be months and months” before compulsory jabs start — but he didn’t commit to a specific timeframe.

The NHS is currently facing long waiting lists with more than 5 million people waiting for non-emergency treatment.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email for a complimentary trial. 

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