Sir Chris Whitty has written an open letter to NHS medics to tell them they have a ‘professional responsibility’ to get vaccinated against Covid.
Sajid Javid last week performed a last-minute U-turn on the controversial ‘no jab, no job’ policy for health workers over fears it would leave hospitals short staffed.
Up to 80,000 unjabbed workers faced being fired because of the rule, which would have meant they needed two doses by April 1 to keep their job.
Ministers reversed course but continued to insist it was the duty of staff to get a jab, with Boris Johnson last week saying it was their ‘professional responsibility to get vaccinated’.
Sir Chris, England’s chief medical officer, has now publicised his letter to colleagues urging them to take up the offer of a jab to protect their patients.
He wrote ‘questions of professional responsibility and legal mandation are separate’, arguing the public expect staff caring for their vulnerable relatives to do everything in their power to avoid passing on the virus.
While admitting jabs do not provide ‘absolute’ protection against infection, he said they do minimise reduce the risk, particularly after a booster dose.
Writing in the letter, Sir Chris said: ‘Our professional responsibility is to get the Covid vaccines as recommended, to protect our patients.
‘At the same time the vaccine protects us. The great majority of healthcare workers have already done so.
‘We hope those of you who have not will consider doing so now.’
The letter was also signed by the chief officers for midwifery, dentistry, primary care, nursing, national medicine, allied health professions and pharmaceuticals in England.
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