In November last year, some NHS workers set up the group known as NHS100K. It is estimated that some 100,000 NHS staff, designated as key workers when the pandemic hit in 2020, have chosen not to take the vaccine. Under current plans, these staff would become ineligible to work for the NHS as of April 1 this year.
The staff member, who is in a non-patient facing role at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, said that they have been vaccinated for a range of other diseases during their lifetime, as well as taking the yearly flu vaccine.
However, for them the mandatory Covid-19 vaccination is a step too far. They say it is an encroachment into their last personal freedom, that of bodily autonomy, and a breach of medical privacy.
“I feel like I am being coerced into doing something that I do not want to do,” they explained.
“I feel like I have enough information to make this decision, and I am not going to have the vaccination for Covid-19. Up until now, that has not been a problem.
They added that they have had a personal risk assessment which found that they were not at risk from the virus, but risk assessments have not been done to find out if unvaccinated staff pose a risk to colleagues. They added: “Enforced vaccination, I think, is wrong. I think we are being blackmailed into taking the jab or losing your job.
“The Government are doing their best to publish as much information as they can to improve vaccine uptake. I am not against offering the vaccination to anyone who wants to take it.
“What I do with my body is the one and only freedom I have left. If I give that up, I don’t know how I can be the person I am. I have colleagues, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, who sympathise with that.”
We asked SaTH if they were intending to go ahead with the Government plans. We also asked how many staff would be estimated to lose their jobs as a result.
A spokesperson for SaTH said: “The majority of our staff are now vaccinated, and we are continuing to engage closely and openly with colleagues who have not yet been to try and address any questions or concerns they may have.
“We are being clear in those conversations that this is now a national requirement and that having the Covid-19 vaccination saves lives and reduces the risk of serious illness and will keep working positively with all colleagues to ensure that they, and those we care for, are protected.”