NHS workers will no longer be forced to get jabs, according to reports (Picture: Getty)
Mandatory Covid jabs for NHS and social care workers are set to be scrapped, according to reports.
Sajid Javid is said to be ready to U-turn on the decision amid fears it could lead to major staff shortages.
Health workers had been given until April to make sure they were full vaccinated or face losing their job.
A meeting of the Covid-Operations Cabinet committee on Monday is set to confirm that there will no longer be a legal requirement to get jabbed, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper reported that the Government is ending the policy because Omicron is milder than previous variants.
Last Monday, the Department of Health and Social Care said there were no plans to change the policy following a number of reports suggesting ministers were considering an 11th-hour delay.
However, the Health Secretary said on Tuesday that the policy is being ‘kept under review’.
Mr Javid said that it was ‘right’ to reflect on Covid-19 policies but he added that frontline NHS staff should get a Covid-19 jab as a ‘professional duty’.
He went on to say that plans for compulsory jabs were made when the Delta variant of the virus was the dominant strain in the UK, but now ‘almost all’ cases are the Omicron variant which is ‘intrinsically less severe’.
Conservative MPs who had been against the policy welcomed the reports of a U-turn on Sunday.
Andrew Rosindell MP tweeted: ‘These free-thinking NHS workers’ jobs are saved and quite right too.
‘Well done all those who had the courage to stand up for the values of a free society!’
Meanwhile, Mark Harper called the reported decision a ‘huge win’.
‘My backbench colleagues & I have been pushing hard to spare the sack for tens of thousands of NHS & care workers,’ he tweeted.
‘It beggars belief that the PM & Health Secretary kept insisting on bulldozing this policy through, despite warnings of staff shortages, for so long.’
Healthcare workers who haven’t yet been jabbed had just days to get their first dose if they were going to meet the deadline.
The policy stated staff should have had one jab by February 3 and a second before April 1.
There have been protests and calls for the policy to be delayed, amid fears that it could force thousands of frontline workers to leave their roles at a time when patient demand is high.
Both the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Nursing urged for the deadline to be put back.
Meanwhile, the British Medical Association called for an ‘urgent impact assessment’ on how the policy would affect staffing numbers.
Responding to the latest developments, Patricia Marquis, RCN director of England, said: ‘If these reports are correct, this climbdown by government is long overdue.
‘Vaccination is hugely important but this was the wrong policy, especially as it added to the current pressure on NHS and care services.
‘It was never in the interests of patient safety to threaten tens of thousands with dismissal in the middle of staffing crisis.
‘We will continue to support government and employers to make the case for vaccination.’
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Original Article: metro.co.uk