James O'Brien: NHS vaccine U-turn 'the right thing to do'

31 January 2022, 11:09

By Seán Hickey

The Health Secretary's decision to roll back plans for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for NHS staff is 'sadly' the right decision.

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid has declared plans to scrap mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for NHS staff, as concerns over staff shortages before introducing the mandate brought about worry over a potential staffing crisis if thousands of unvaccinated workers were to lose their jobs.

Read more: Sajid U-turn as mandatory vaccines for NHS and social care staff to be scrapped

"The optimal path is for there to be no unvaccinated people in the NHS." James O'Brien noted.

He made the point that when faced with this conundrum, it is the right decision to abandon plans.

"Who would you rather looked after your mum: Nobody, or an unvaccinated healthcare assistant?"

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"You can't legislate for a perfect world" James added, suggesting that the current situation is all Sajid Javid can work with, rather than his ideal.

Read more: Laurence Fox reveals he has Covid days after claiming he did not need to be vaccinated

He accepted that "there are problems with how the government have ducked the responsibility of getting the message out there" and that may play a factor in high rates of unvaccinated staff in the NHS.

"Sajid Javid's job is to deal with what is in front of him, not what he wishes was in front of him, and therefore the U-turn on mandatory jabs for NHS workers is the right thing to do, sadly."

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