The Bishop of London asked that the government consider placing a hold on legislation to dismiss any NHS staff that remained unvaccinated after April 2022, during a debate on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on 20th January 2022:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her update. I believe that NHS staff who have not received two doses of the vaccine face dismissal from 1 April onwards. It is estimated that this will result in London losing something like 12.5% of its midwives, putting at risk the lives of pregnant women and their babies. Such a loss of staff may be thought to be justified were it not for the case that two doses of the vaccine are not understood to protect against the omicron variant of Covid-19. We shall lose precious midwives to implement a policy that has been superseded by the evolution of the virus. Will Her Majesty’s Government put the implementation of existing legislation on hold, given that it may now lead only to harm and not the good that it was designed to promote?
Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con): I am sure the right reverend Prelate would also accept that unvaccinated healthcare workers increase the risk to themselves, their colleagues and the very vulnerable people in their care. It is our responsibility to help give everyone the best possible protection. I can say that the vast majority of NHS staff have been vaccinated: nine in 10 have already had their second jabs. The NHS will continue to support and encourage staff who have not yet been vaccinated to take up the offer. Since we first consulted on this proposal, the proportion of NHS trust healthcare workers who have been vaccinated with a first dose has increased from 92% to 94%, an increase of 75,000.
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