A senior King’s College hospital doctor has challenged health secretary Sajid Javid over the government’s new rule requiring NHS staff to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
The doctor, a consultant anaesthetist who has worked on the Denmark Hill hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) for Covid patients since the start of the pandemic, was among several staff members asked by Javid what they thought of the new rule on an official visit on Friday (December 7).
He told the health secretary in a video published by Sky News: “I’m not happy about that,” he said. “I had Covid at some point, I’ve got antibodies, and I’ve been working on Covid ICU since the beginning.
“I have not had a vaccination, I do not want to have a vaccination. The vaccines are reducing transmission only for about eight weeks for Delta, with Omicron it’s probably less.
“And for that, I would be dismissed if I don’t have a vaccine? The science isn’t strong enough.”
The doctor told Javid that he thought the protection he got from his previous Covid infection would be the same as someone who had the jab.
Javid replied: “I respect that, but there’s also many different views. I understand it, and obviously we have to weigh all that up for both health and social care, and there will always be a debate about it.” He added that the doctor’s protection from his previous infection would wane.
A spokesperson for King’s said: “While currently it is not a mandatory requirement for staff to get their Covid-19 vaccination or disclose vaccine status to patients, we strongly support and encourage all our staff to get their jab, in line with national guidance – and nearly 90 per cent of our staff have already done so.”
Javid announced the rule requiring NHS staff to get the jab in November 2021, but it will not come into force until April this year. Vaccines for care home staff are already compulsory.
More than 90 per cent of NHS staff have had two jabs, and about 60 per cent have had their booster, according to the latest available figures.