Should SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for all frontline healthcare staff be compulsory?
Emeritus Professor Alan Glasper, from the University of Southampton, discusses the issues raised by the recent government decision to make vaccination against the virus causing COVID-19 mandatory for care home staff
On 16 June 2021 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, compulsory vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) for most of the 1.5 million people working in social care in England was to be implemented. The decision to introduce mandatory vaccination for this group of healthcare staff was taken following a government consultation that sought views on the proposal to make it a condition of employment in older adult care homes (Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), 2021a). The forthcoming decision was discussed in the press even before it was in the public domain. The Guardian (Allegretti, 2021a), for example, reported that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which had contributed to the government review, had endorsed the proposal to prioritise the right to life for care-home residents who are especially vulnerable due to the severe morbidities associated with COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
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