Government addresses Suffolk nurses' concerns over vaccine ahead of compulsory Covid-19 jabs for NHS staff
From next April it will be compulsory for all NHS staff to be double jabbed with the Covid-19 vaccine, with the health secretary saying it is 'imperative' to protect health services and keep people safe.
But for one Suffolk nurse mandatory vaccination is a step too far, and she says she will be forced to leave her job because of it.
The nurse, who does not wish to be named, said she doesn't want the vaccine as she is trying for a baby and currently breastfeeding. She fears they could cause her, her child or her future pregnancies harm.
However, the Department of Health have said the vaccines are safe for those receiving it and do not cause harm to breastfeeding babies or pregnancies.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “This is about patient safety – we know vaccines work and if those in hospital and care are exposed to COVID-19 it could be fatal. It’s our duty to ensure that they are as safe as can be."
Information found on the NHS website also states that you cannot catch Covid-19 through the vaccine, it cannot be passed onto a baby through breast milk and that there is no evidence that the vaccine has an effect on chances of conceiving.
The website also advises there is no need to avoid getting pregnant after being vaccinated.
The nurse, who works in a care home where staff were expected to be fully vaccinated from yesterday, now faces the prospect of dismissal as she wishes to remain unvaccinated.
"There's so many of us it is not just one or two, there's a lot that are being dismissed," she said.
"I think he [Sajid Javid] thinks everybody is just going to uptake it but some of us have several reasons why we won't."
The nurse feels the new rules will force many to choose between their stance on the vaccine and their occupation.
"As nurses we are always taught evidence-based nursing and this is not evidence-based at all," she said.
"I love my frontline job and am having to sacrifice everything I have worked for due to this mandate.
"I have been in healthcare for over ten years and never would have anticipated my career going this way," she added.
She also thinks private healthcare companies will implement the rule soon in order to cater for NHS patients and contracts.
She fears that nurses and healthcare professionals who don't want the vaccine will eventually leave patient-facing roles in favour of jobs away from the frontline which don't require vaccination.
This comes after Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, has said he does 'not want to see anyone have to walk away from their job' and that the decision to make vaccines compulsory was 'about patient safety'.
Mr Javid told LBC Radio: “The vast majority of NHS workers are already vaccinated and I want to, of course, thank them for that.
“They’ve done that not only to protect themselves or their colleagues, most of all I think they’ve done it to protect their patients."
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “As the Health and Social Care Secretary said, NHS and care staff do amazing work and we are thankful to those who have chosen to get the vaccine.
“In certain instances where staff choose not to be vaccinated, there may be an option to move into a non-patient facing role.”
They also added that they have allowed a 12-week grace period to give staff time to get their vaccines and said they are 'focusing every effort on encouraging vaccine take-up in both the social care and frontline NHS workforce'.