Hundreds of health workers in Shropshire yet to receive Covid jab

Hundreds of health care workers at the county's NHS trusts are yet to receive a coronavirus vaccine, figures show.

The government is considering whether to make Covid vaccinations mandatory for health workers
The government is considering whether to make Covid vaccinations mandatory for health workers

The Government is soon to announce its decision on whether to make vaccines mandatory for frontline NHS staff, though several leading health bodies have cautioned against doing so.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said he is "leaning towards" introducing mandatory vaccination for NHS staff, as has been brought in for social care workers.

NHS figures, which have been published for the first time show that there are 790 staff at the county's NHS trusts not yet vaccinated – 526 at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), 178 at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RJAH), and 86 at Shropshire Community Health Trust.

By the end of September 7,235 health care workers at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, had been given their first dose – 93.2 per cent.

At RJAH 2,273 – some 92.7 per cent – have received their first dose, with 1,795, or 95.4 per cent, at Shropshire Community Health Trust also having had their initial jab.

At SaTH 7,008 workers – 90.3 per cent – have had both doses, with the figure being 2,197 – 89.6 per cent – at RJAH, and 1,748 – 92.9 per cent – at the community health trust.

Steve Ellis, Service Director and Deputy Senior Responsible Officer for the Covid-19 Vaccination Service in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said they are working to promote vaccination amongst health staff across the county, and welcomed the take up so far.

He said: “We are pleased that the majority of our staff have come forward for their Covid-19 vaccines.

“We continue to do everything we can to promote and encourage vaccination amongst our staff.”

Across England around 110,000 healthcare workers have not had a vaccine.

Around 92.4 per cent of staff have had at least one dose, and 89 per cent both, though rates vary significantly at NHS Trusts across the country.

Just 84.2 per cent of workers at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have had at least one jab, compared to 97.1 per cent at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust.

A government consultation on whether to make vaccines mandatory for health workers closed on October 22. It also questioned whether flu vaccines should be a requirement.

The Royal College of GPs strongly urged all health and care professionals to be vaccinated, saying it will help protect them, their colleagues and their patients from contracting Covid-19.

However, Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, added: "Whilst we understand the desire of some people to make vaccination mandatory, we don’t agree with it as informed and educated choices about health interventions would be more beneficial long-term than enforcing them, which risks leading to resentment and mistrust.

"There are also workforce implications to consider 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."

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Where uptake needs to increase, leaders are working with their teams ensuring they are fully supported.

"Making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for frontline workers could have its advantages in the NHS but the Government needs to carry out a full risk assessment including timeframes to ensure there was no adverse impact on staff retention and recruitment at a time when the NHS is facing significant demand for its services.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We continue to encourage the small minority of NHS staff who have not yet been jabbed to consider getting vaccinated to protect both themselves and patients.”

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