Refusal to have coronavirus jab ‘not a fitness to practise issue’
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Refusal to have coronavirus jab ‘not a fitness to practise issue’

Nurses who refuse the coronavirus vaccine will not face fitness to practise processes.

Nursing Standard. 36, 11, 7-7. doi: 10.7748/ns.36.11.7.s5

Published: 03 November 2021

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe insisted it is the responsibility of employers to act if they deem it necessary.

Ms Sutcliffe was speaking at a meeting of the NMC’s council, where members discussed the regulator’s stance on mandatory vaccination for front-line healthcare staff in England.

‘It is not a fitness to practise regulatory matter,’ she told council members.

‘It is absolutely essential we are clear about this. We are encouraging people to take the vaccine. But we need to make sure it sits firmly with employers.’

Ms Sutcliffe’s comments reaffirmed her previous statement on mandatory vaccines for social care staff, when she said it would be for employers to address concerns.

From 11 November, all staff – including redeployed workers – in registered care homes in England must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. A decision on whether all health and social care staff in direct contact with patients in England should have both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines is likely to be made this winter.

Compulsory vaccination has long been a contentious topic. When Nursing Standard asked nurses on Facebook whether COVID-19 vaccination should be mandatory for them, the response was mixed.

One nurse said: ‘Many people will not be taking it – as is their choice. So why force others?’

But another responded: ‘Yes, unless they cannot take it… Other vaccinations are mandatory, why not this?’

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