The Royal College of GPs has responded to the government’s decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for NHS workers
Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following: “The COVID vaccination programme has been a huge success with almost 45m over-16s fully vaccinated in the UK, showing that overall take up has been very high. The vaccine is our most important tool in protecting people from the virus. All vaccines that we’re currently using in the UK have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they are safe and effective – as such, we’d urge anyone who is offered a jab to have one.
“The decision of the secretary of state is to ignore the views of the College, and many other representative bodies across healthcare including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for NHS workers, is disappointing and sets a concerning precedent.
“We would strongly urge all health and care professionals to be vaccinated, unless there is a medical reason why they shouldn’t. The fact is the vast majority are already vaccinated; they know they are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19 and getting vaccinated will help protect themselves, their colleagues, and their patients. But the RCGP believes that informed and educated choices about health interventions are more beneficial long-term than enforced interventions, which risks leading to resentment and mistrust.
“The move to mandatory vaccination is particularly concerning at a time when we need as many people as possible working in general practice and across the health and care sectors delivering essential patient care and services. We can ill afford to risk losing staff with personal objections to the vaccine, however unfounded those objections may be, and we are unlikely to be in a better position with workforce pressures come next April.”