Last updated: 10 Feb 2021 10:56 am

Healthcare workers and the vaccine 

The Cabinet Office has developed a campaign to raise awareness of the vaccine with the public and health and social care staff. This includes specific engagement with BAME communities and the NHS workforce.

There are no plans for a Covid-19 vaccine to be compulsory. Just as they do with the winter flu vaccine, local NHS employers will be working hard to ensure staff can get vaccinated, and that any concerns that staff have are answered. We are confident that most staff – as they do every year for the flu vaccine – will protect themselves and their patients by getting the vaccine. 

No, the Covid-19 vaccination is only available through the NHS to eligible groups and it is a free vaccination.

The NHS will offer vaccinations using different models. For healthcare workers, most will get vaccinated either at their own work or a local hospital.

Frontline health and social care workers at high risk of acquiring infection, at a high individual risk of developing a serious disease, or at risk of transmitting the infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment, are considered of higher priority for vaccination than those at a lower risk. This prioritisation should be taken into account during vaccine deployment.

The JCVI have put patient-facing health and social care staff into a priority group because of their heightened risk of exposure to the virus. Healthcare workers are not the top priority though, and with limited vaccine available up to now, employers have been asked to offer the vaccine to the most at risk healthcare workers first. With many more doses now expected over the coming weeks, employers will be widening this out and protecting staff as soon as possible.

The NHS is experienced in vaccinating hundreds of thousands of staff quickly and safely – we do it every year for the flu vaccine – and all local NHS employers will be responsible for ensuring that 100% of eligible staff have the opportunity to take it up over the coming weeks and months.

The Government have confirmed that the vast majority of vaccinations administered by the NHS in this initial phase will be prioritised for those 80 years of age and over and care home residents and workers.

Up to now some staff have been vaccinated to avoid doses going to waste, with employers asked to identify those who can benefit most to go first using the risk assesment framework to identify those at greatest risk. Over the following days and weeks as we get more supplies this will continue to be rolled out.

If you’re a frontline worker in the NHS, you are more likely to be exposed to Covid-19 at work.

Getting your Covid-19 vaccination as soon as you can, should protect you and may help to protect your family and those you care for.

The Covid-19 vaccine should help reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives and will therefore reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services.

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