Responding to the government's announcement that Covid-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for care home staff in England, and that ministers are considering extending the policy to all NHS staff, MiP chief executive Jon Restell said:
"MiP does not support mandatory vaccination of NHS staff for Covid-19 or flu.
"The various Covid-19 vaccinations protect both staff and their patients. They are particularly important for the health and safety of staff who may be exposed to higher viral loads, for example, because they care for patients with Covid-19. We encourage all staff to have the vaccine.
"It is also important to note that the vast majority of NHS staff have now been vaccinated: 95% have had the first vaccination and over 85% the second. So we have achieved a high level of coverage via voluntary vaccination.
"But mandatory vaccination must be considered only in very rare circumstances. There is research evidence that it is counterproductive, and MiP supports quality management conversations, accessible vaccination services and good information to concerned staff.
"Staff concerns, such as those of some younger women worried about the impact of the vaccine on their fertility, need to be treated with respect and sensitivity, even when they are out of step with public health advice and clinical evidence. Generally, managers want to preserve the employee's engagement and mandatory vaccination with a threat of dismissal could undermine it with serious consequences for operational effectiveness."
- This post was amended on 10 September 2021 to clarify MiP's position on the impact of the vaccine on fertility.