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Thousands march in London to protest against mandatory jabs for unvaccinated NHS staff
22 January 2022, 14:03 | Updated: 22 January 2022, 14:11
Thousands of people joined unvaccinated health workers in a large-scale protest in central London against mandatory vaccines for NHS workers.
Unvaccinated NHS workers are set to lose their jobs on April 1st if they do not take up the vaccine.
The deputy lead for the NHS Covid vaccination programme has said it is the "duty" of staff to make sure patients are protected ahead of jabs becoming mandatory for health workers in England.
The NHS Confederation wants the 1st of April deadline to be delayed until September.
Thousands are marching down Regent Street against vaccine mandates as NHS staff need to have had their first dose by Feb 3rd to meet the cut off. Estimated upwards of 70k are set to be sacked @LBC @LBCNews pic.twitter.com/b9vnrSyB2t— Charlotte Lynch (@charlotterlynch) January 22, 2022
Health and social care staff need to be doubly vaccinated by April or will face dismissal. NHS staff need to have had their first dose by Feb 3 to meet the cut off deadline.
It has been estimated upwards of 70,000 people could face losing their jobs.
One nurse at the protest told LBC: “I’ve been a nurse for 32 years. I’m against NHS mandatory vaccination. This is the hill i’ll die on and I will not comply. “Nursing’s all I’ve ever done and all I ever want to do. I’m really hopeful we can turn this round because the NHS need us all.
Another said: “I’m pro choice. We’re being called anti-vax but it’s all about pro-choice for me. “That’s why I’m here today. I’m standing up for everyone.”
A third said: “I’m gutted, I trained for 10 years. I’ve been a qualified nurse for two years and now I’m going to lose it. Ultimately it’s about freedom of choice. If I lose my job then I’ll just have to accept that.”
NHS teams have been striving to increase uptake of the jab. Coronavirus vaccines have already been given out at sport stadiums, shopping centres and Heaven nightclub in London.
The deputy lead for the NHS Covid vaccination programme Dr Nikki Kanani has said it is not too late to get jabbed.
Dr Kanani was asked about what she would say to staff who are protesting against mandatory vaccination.
She said: "I think it's a really difficult time for some people to make a decision that is fundamentally about protecting them and their families and their communities.
"So, if you're marching today, just take a moment, think about the people that you've been looking after who have experienced Covid, think about your colleagues who you've been working with, and think about the best way to make sure that we're all protected, and that we're all as safe as possible, because we are very much in this together and it's down to us to look after each other too."