The British government should not “threaten” NHS staff with compulsory coronavirus vaccinations, Labour has warned.
Shadow Commons leader, Thangam Debbonaire, said it was not a “good idea” after the vaccines minister said NHS staff may be given no choice but to get a shot against Covid-19, whether they want to or not.
Speaking on Sky Nadhim Zahawi said the government is considering whether vaccinations should be compulsory for NHS staff because precedents compelling staff to have some vaccinations exist.
However, in some areas of the UK take up of the vaccine among NHS workers has been slow and incomplete and a Facebook group called “NHS workers for choice, no restrictions for declining a vaccine” has been set up.
Previously, the idea of mandatory coronavirus vaccinations has been criticised with some doctors saying the move would be “discriminatory”.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on May 30, “It’s absolutely the right thing and it would be incumbent on any responsible government to have the debate, to do the thinking as to how we go about protecting the most vulnerable by making sure that those who look after them are vaccinated.”
“There is precedent for this, obviously surgeons get vaccinated for hepatitis B, so it’s something that we are absolutely thinking about,” he added.
The Minister also called on the World Health Organisation to fully investigate the source of the coronavirus as concerns grow that it is “feasible” that it did originate from a Chinese research laboratory in Wuhan.
“I think it’s really important that the WHO is allowed to conduct its investigation unencumbered into the origins of this pandemic and that we should leave no stone unturned to understand why – not only because of the current pandemic that has swept the world but also for future-proofing the world’s capability to deal with pandemics,” he said.
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