‘I don’t want it’ Awkward moment unvaccinated NHS doctor confronts Sajid Javid – VIDEO
Sajid Javid confronted by NHS doctor over vaccine mandate
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An NHS doctor bluntly told Sajid Javid that he has refused to get jabbed for coronavirus, as he urged the Government not to impose mandatory coronavirus vaccines for NHS staff. The encounter saw Steve James, a consultant anaesthetist, argue that antibodies from previous Covid infection were sufficient for protection. Sajid Javid awkwardly thanked the NHS doctor for his effort in saving Covid patients, before taking a parting swipe at Dr James.
The Health Secretary said the Government were taking advice “from people who are actually experts”.
Mr Javid was confronted during a visit to King’s College Hospital in south London, as staff absences in the NHS cause mounting pressure.
He asked staff members on the intensive care unit about their thoughts on new rules requiring vaccination for NHS workers.
MPs last month voted to make vaccinations mandatory for NHS workers who have direct, face-to-face contact with patients unless they are exempt.
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The legal requirement for NHS staff to be fully vaccinated as a condition of their employment is set to come into force from 1 April.
Dr James directly challenged Mr Javid in front of media cameras: “I’m not happy about that.
“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 protection that I’ve got from the transmission is probably the equivalent to someone who is vaccinated.”
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Mr Javid politely replied: “I respect that, but there are 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.”
The consultant urged the Health Secretary to use the “changing picture” of the pandemic during the Omicron wave to “reconsider” the rule.
Mr Javid responded: “I respect your views and more than that I respect everything you’re doing here and the lives you’re saving.”
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A King’s College Hospital spokesperson 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 percent of our staff have already done so.”
During his visit to the south London hospital, Mr Javid raised fears about growing Covid hospital admissions, particularly in older age groups.
He told reporters: “We are still seeing rising hospitalisations, particularly with the case rate rising with older age groups – that is of concern.
“And I think we have to be honest when we look at the NHS and say it will be a rocky few weeks ahead.”
He once again called on people to get vaccinated, adding that staff at the hospital estimated about 70 percent of Covid patients were unvaccinated.
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