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NHS workers who refuse vaccine

(58 Posts)
LizzieDrip Wed 02-Feb-22 10:54:42

Many things throughout this pandemic have left me shocked and bewildered, but the refusal of NHS professionals to get vaccinated is probably one of the most confusing. It now looks like the mandatory vaccine for NHS staff will be removed. I understand their resistance to a MANDATORY vaccine but WHY are 1 in 20 NHS professionals still not vaccinated? In interviews they’ve given reasons such as:
1) ‘fit, healthy people don’t need the vaccine’
2) ‘it’s understandable that there’s reluctance to a new treatment’ (spokesperson from Royal College of Nursing)
3) natural immunity is more effective than vaccine
4) it’s against my human rights.
What about the safety and protection of their patients who, by the very nature of requiring medical treatment, are presumably NOT fit and healthy! I know the vaccine does not prevent one from catching Covid, but it makes one less likely to catch it and therefore less likely to pass it to others. I really want to understand people’s reasons for refusing the vaccine, but am struggling with the concept of those who have chosen a medical career refusing it. If millions of people hadn’t been willing to take the vaccine, just imagine the situation we would be in now. Doctors seem happy to prescribe drugs to us in the knowledge that many will cause unpleasant, even harmful, side effects yet many won’t take the Covid vaccine. Please can any GNs help to ease my bewilderment over this issue.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 02-Feb-22 11:04:21

I share your bewilderment Lizzie. I can’t begin to understand how they square their refusal to be vaccinated with their duty of care to patients.

Luckygirl3 Wed 02-Feb-22 11:07:11

Me too - beyond belief!

As scientists, or those for whom science is at the heart of their daily work lives, it seems beyond credence that they are refusing the vaccine - and some for totally unscientific reasons.

Alegrias1 Wed 02-Feb-22 11:08:55

Sorry - but your average nurse or doctor, admirable though they are, is no scientist.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 02-Feb-22 11:19:02

They do have a duty of care to their patients though, and what sort of message is sent out by 'medical people' who refuse to be vaccinated?

Alegrias1 Wed 02-Feb-22 11:23:13

No arguments from me on that score GSM

MiniMoon Wed 02-Feb-22 11:26:22

Indeed. My SiL's grandfather, who has dementia, was admitted to hospital last week because of dehydration as he wasn't eating or drinking. An infection of some sort was suspected and he was there for tests. No visitors are allowed on the ward, he was treated and sent home. He has Covid now. He can only have been infected in hospital!
The unvaccinated are putting lives at risk by their selfish behaviour.
I know that the NHS is stretched and short staffed, but I believe that the vaccine mandate for NHS staff should stay.

LizzieDrip Wed 02-Feb-22 11:40:03

That doctors and nurses are not scientists per se makes it all the more important that they do, as the vast majority of us have done, and be guided the scientific decisions of virologists and immunologists - experts in their field. 1 in 20 medics refusing the vaccine plays right into the hands of anti-vaxers and ‘science deniers’ (yes, there is such a movement!). I dread to think that any of us could be treated by a doctor or nurse whose decision making was so skewed!

M0nica Wed 02-Feb-22 11:44:16

Yet most of them will have had lots of other vaccines through their lives without any visible harm and will know that small pox was eliminated totally by vaccine and polio is close to worldwide eradication.

The Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone (2014-16) was finally controlled by a vaccine developed rapidly after the outbreak - as with COVID - yet I cannot remember there being any resistance to it, especially by medical staff. Mind you the death rate from ebola was well over 50% before the vaccine.

I have yet to hear of those currently refusing the vaccine being able to quote examples of any vaccine that has brought harm to those who have received it.

In the meanwhile more and more children are not receiving their pre-school vaccines and as cases of measles whooping cough and the like rise. How soon before an unvaccinated child dies from one of those diseases?

Those of us over retirement age are the only ones who now remember how ill these childhood illnesses made children. My sister missed nearly 2 terms of school through having measles and whooping cough in quick succession, both very badly, and a friend's lungs were damaged for life as the result of a bad attack of whooping cough. Almost every respiratory infection she gets, lands her in hospital for a few days.

It is also utterly selfish, they are a danger to their patients. DH was very seriously ill and nearly died a year ago as the result of an infection that was given to him during the course of an operation (not COVID). No hospital can stop these infections from not happening at all, but they take every precaution to stop it happening and it defies belief that they should let near patients, people who are so susceptible to picking up COVID and passing it on to people at a time when their immune systems are likely to be severely weakened.

Shelflife Wed 02-Feb-22 11:59:39

It is beyond my understanding why anyone would refuse to be vaccinated!!!

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 02-Feb-22 12:16:34

A very good post MOnica.

Callistemon21 Wed 02-Feb-22 13:03:12

Zoe study showed that people who have Covid have slightly fewer antibodies than people who have been vaccinated with the AZ vaccine.
In this new research we found that people still had anti-N antibodies at least 9 months after infection, suggesting that protection through natural infection might be longer lasting than vaccine-induced immunity.

However, we’ve also discovered that protection through natural immunity is less effective overall than vaccination, so we would always recommend you get vaccinated as soon as you’re eligible.

Our data shows that two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine give 71% protection against infection, while two doses of the Pfizer vaccine provide 87% protection. But an unvaccinated person with a previous COVID infection has only 65% protection against catching it again.

It was reported last year that some people with comorbidities develop fewer antibodies after vaccination and this report mentions that they develop fewer after infection too.

In contrast, people with one or more health issues associated with an underlying condition (known as comorbidities) were less likely to have antibodies after being infected, as well as people who currently smoke.

So NHS staff may have had their vaccines but their antibodies may have declined significantly.
They may have had Covid and recovered and have just as many antibodies.

Vaccinated, unvaccinated and recovered Covid patients could still catch Covid and infect others.

Gwyneth Wed 02-Feb-22 14:12:39

This is a victory for the anti-vaxers. I’m appalled that the government have done yet another ‘U turn’ on this matter. What kind of message does it send out for the ‘take up’ of future vaccinations? The case for not making the vaccination mandatory for NHS staff seems to be that the symptoms of Omicron are not as severe as the Delta strain. But if another strain like the Delta strain emerges, which is very likely the government will have an impossible job in making vaccination mandatory. I don’t believe that the numbers of NHS staff predicted will leave. For the most part NHS staff are well paid (rightly so) for the job they do. At a recent hospital appointment I had to show proof of vaccination plus a negative LFT but I could have been treated by unvaccinated staff. In addition I think the Unions could have tried a lot harder to encourage their members to be vaccinated.

Shinamae Wed 02-Feb-22 14:21:43

And yet us, the carers, (poor relations)had no choice at all really,we were going to have to have the vaccine or leave our jobs months ago.Luckily where I work only one person left and he worked in the kitchen. Most of the staff, in fact I think all of the staff where I work would’ve taken the vaccine but we did not really have a choice. I do think it’s absolutely disgusting that the government have done a U-turn on this

LizzieDrip Wed 02-Feb-22 14:32:51

Agree Gwyneth. All those anti-vaxxers who have mocked us for taking the vaccine are being vindicated by members of the very profession supposedly there to protect public health. The mixed messages this sends out are astounding. It beggars belief really! I wonder what Dame Sarah Gilbert, Chris Whitty et al think about this?

LizzieDrip Wed 02-Feb-22 14:36:28

Also, if a patient has to show proof of vaccination re. Gwyneth’s post, then surely that same patient has the right to insist all staff she / he comes into contact with have been vaccinated!

Baggs Wed 02-Feb-22 15:09:50

At a recent hospital appointment I had to show proof of vaccination plus a negative LFT

Really? And would they really have refused to treat you if you hadn't had a covid vaccine and showed proof of a negative LFT?

I find that very shocking.

Jerseygal Wed 02-Feb-22 15:31:25

Vaccination has always been about your Health not others. It's about your personal health not others. Propaganda to say Unvaccinated are Selfish. Vaccinated can get Sick. Why not say "it's Selfish getting Sick" which makes no sense. It's about "Treatment" for the Virus. It's about a Employers Sick Policy so you Stay home & not lose your Job. Firing Employees for "Not being Sick" makes No Sense. It's about a Healthy Immune System VS Unhealthy System Immune.

Pammie1 Wed 02-Feb-22 15:44:03

A news report yesterday estimated that some 30.000 care workers had lost their jobs for refusing the vaccine. How do we equate that with the mandate for NHS staff being removed ? I’m not for mandating any vaccine - it’s a slippery slope - but like others I’m not sure it sends a good message to patients and it certainly gives more ammunition for the anti vaxers to fire. A consultant for A&E stated that when a patient asks any NHS staff if they are vaccinated against Covid, they should be able to state ‘yes’ and follow it up with advice that the patient should be too, unless there’s a medical reason not to be.

trisher Wed 02-Feb-22 15:44:34

I do think if the staff are permitted not to be vaccinated then the patient should have the right to know they are unvaccinated. Some of the people I saw at the demonstration were midwives and I wondered how they could justify being a danger to women at a time when they are most vulnerable and a danger to newborns. How many women would choose an unvaccinated midwife?

Baggs Wed 02-Feb-22 15:53:00

I never "chose" my midwife. I got who could be there at the right time. Which was fine.

Baggs Wed 02-Feb-22 15:53:17

Well said, jerseygal.

Pammie1 Wed 02-Feb-22 15:56:05


^At a recent hospital appointment I had to show proof of vaccination plus a negative LFT^

Really? And would they really have refused to treat you if you hadn't had a covid vaccine and showed proof of a negative LFT?

I find that very shocking.

Same here - had to show proof of vaccination, which I don’t understand because if they have my records, surely the vaccination dates would be logged, as they are on the NHS app on my phone. It really annoys me, partly because of the stance of many NHS staff against the vaccine, and partly because of my experience of Covid protocols last year in our local hospital.

My partner and I are both CEV and had been strictly shielding since March 2020 at the start of lockdowns. In February 2021 my partner was admitted to hospital at the end of a clinic visit for minor surgery and on admission an LFT proved positive. We both explained that we’d been shielding and couldn’t see how he could be positive. Objections were waved away and instead of putting him in isolation until the follow up PCR results were received, they put him straight on a ward with Covid infected patients. He was discharged five days later and despite asking several times was never advised of the results of the two follow up PCR tests. Within a couple of days of coming home he developed symptoms, passed the virus on to me and we were both very ill.

It was a couple of weeks later while he was checking text messages that we discovered the results of the PCR tests had been sent to his phone - they were both negative. So I have issues with this sort of thing when it’s clear that in a lot of cases the NHS wasnt following its’ own Covid protocols and failed to protect vulnerable people as a result.

grannyrebel7 Wed 02-Feb-22 15:58:25

I just can't understand why these people think they know better than the scientists. What sheer bloody arrogance! Makes me really cross that there's so many NHS workers refusing to have the vaccine.

rosie1959 Wed 02-Feb-22 16:07:10

As this vacination does not stop you contracting covid or transmitting it I would much prefer a medical professional had a negative test rather than just being vacinnated.
Can we really afford to loose all the unvaccinated NHS workers