Responding to the news that the Government has launched a consultation into whether Covid-19 and flu vaccinations should be made mandatory for frontline health and care workers, Dr Penelope Toff, co-chair of the BMA public health medicine committee, said:
"The notions of making vaccines compulsory for anyone, including healthcare workers, is very complex and raises many ethical, legal and practical questions. Vaccination programmes work best when people have a chance to get their questions answered and are able to make an informed decision. A thorough consultation is really important and the BMA will be responding to the Government’s proposals on behalf of the tens of thousands of doctors who are our members.
"In line with GMC guidance, the BMA believe that all doctors should be vaccinated against Covid-19, unless they have medical reason not to be.
"While some healthcare workers have conditions in their employment contracts which require them to be immunised, for example against Hepatitis B, to work in certain environments, a proposal for compulsory vaccination of healthcare staff against Covid-19 and flu has far-reaching implications. It’s also important to understand that being vaccinated against COVID-19 doesn’t always prevent a person passing on the infection, so that when rates are high, other preventative measure, such as masks would also be needed. However, even if you have had the Covid-19 infection, vaccination is still the best way to protect yourself and others.
"We know that both Covid-19 and flu vaccine uptake among doctors remains high but that there are also small numbers of staff who are unable or unwilling to have the vaccines. There are a number of reasons for this and it’s important that all views are taken into consideration in this consultation.
"As the trade union and professional body for doctors, the BMA will continue to discuss this issue with our members."
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.