Mandatory Covid jabs for NHS staff 'blunt instrument', JCVI member says

10 November 2021, 07:47

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Dr Maggie Wearmouth, who sits on the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation, said that legislating mandatory vaccines for frontline health and care workers in England was a "blunt instrument" but she was "supportive" of the move.

She told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "I'm broadly in favour of this move.

"I think legislation is a blunt instrument, but as frontline health and social care workers our goal and our main responsibility should be the health and protection of the very vulnerable, frail and elderly patients in our care.

"As a frontline health worker myself, I find it incomprehensible that someone would want to work in a job like mine and wish not to be vaccinated, so I broadly support it."

Asked about the prospect of daily testing as an alternative to unvaccinated staff, she added: "Daily testing is really quite cumbersome. I test twice a week and that's bad enough.

"I do think that you make a choice if you're a frontline worker, and the choice should be to protect your patients."

Frontline workers have a choice to make on getting jabbed against coronavirus to protect their patients, Dr Wearmouth told Nick Ferrari.

The JCVI member told LBC: "Clearly people who are very opposed to this and are frontline workers are going to have to make some difficult decisions."

Dr Wearmouth recalled having had some "very interesting and ethically challenging conversations with staff and patients in these situations over the last few months".

One group of people she highlighted are health and social care workers, who have had a first dose and then due to "possibly a change of heart or side effects have decided not to have the second jab".

For these, she suggested "there's some work there to facilitate people having a full, completed programme possibly with a different vaccine".

But pregnant women and those who are planning to become pregnant are her main concern, she said.

"The most often reason that's quoted to me are women who don't want to have it because of pregnancy," she said.

"I think that raises double concerns because we know that only 15% of women who are pregnant are fully vaccinated, so that for frontline workers, I think it's extremely important that these people are educated and helped and supported by their midwifery crew, teams to get vaccinated for themselves, their unborn babies, their staff, colleagues and their jobs."

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