One in 10 London NHS staff are still unvaccinated against Covid-19 - the highest proportion in England
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It comes after health secretary Sajid Javid was challenged by an unvaccinated south London hospital consultant over the government’s policy of mandatory jabs for patient-facing NHS staff.
This could mean in a worst case scenario in April, tens of thousands of healthcare workers in the capital could lose their jobs.
The NHS England statistics revealed that of the city’s 210,239 NHS staff, 189,143 have had their first dose, while 181,141 have had their second jab, and 136,688 have had a booster.
The figures have been checked by the data and investigations team at NationalWorld, LondonWorld’s sister title, with the National Immunisation Management System and the NHS Electronic Staff Record.
They also show that of the 1.47million NHS staff in England, London has the third lowest number of workers in total, above the East of England region, with 155,828, and the South West region, with 146, 934.
The South West region also has the highest number of vaccinated NHS staff, with just 3.9% yet to have their first dose, 5.9% yet to have their second jab, and 19.8% yet to be boosted.
The health secretary visited the intensive care unit at King’s College Hospital, in Lambeth, on Saturday, January 8, where Steve James, a consultant anaesthetist who had been treating patients with Covid-19 since March 2020, said he was unhappy with compulsory vaccines.
He said: “I’m not happy about that. I had Covid at some point, I’ve got antibodies, and I’ve been working on Covid ICU since the beginning.
"I have not had a vaccination, I do not want to have a vaccination. The vaccines are reducing transmission only for about eight weeks for Delta, with Omicron it’s probably less.
"For that, I would be dismissed if I don’t have a vaccine? The science isn’t strong enough."
He added: "The protection that I’ve got from transmission is probably the equivalent to someone who is vaccinated.”
The health secretary said: “I respect that, but there’s also many different views. I understand it, and obviously we have to weigh all that up for both health and social care, and there will always be a debate about it.
"I respect your views and more than that I respect everything you’re doing here and the lives you’re saving.”
And Mr Javid told him protection from having had the virus would also fade, "at some point” and added that the government takes the "very best advice" from vaccine experts.
A King’s College Hospital spokesperson told Sky News: "While currently it is not a mandatory requirement for staff to get their Covid-19 vaccination or disclose vaccine status to patients, we strongly support and encourage all our staff to get their jab, in line with national guidance - and nearly 90% of our staff have already done so."
In December 2021, MPs voted to make jabs compulsory for NHS staff who work with patients face-to-face, unless they have an exemption, from April 1, 2022.
Across the NHS as a whole, more than 90% of staff have had at least two doses of a Covid vaccine, while more than 60% have had a booster or third dose, NHS England has said.
However, NHS data published in October 2021 showed that London also had the highest proportion of NHS staff yet to be vaccinated against coronavirus in England at that point.
The British Medical Association (BMA) chairman, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, previously said: “Patients should feel safe and many understandably expect to be looked after by someone who has been vaccinated.
“However, there is an important distinction between believing every healthcare worker should be vaccinated and advocating mandatory vaccinations for all NHS staff.
“Any workforce reduction will impact heavily on services as we face a record care backlog.
“Even a small number of staff forced out of work as they are unvaccinated would have a big impact on a health service under constant pressure with over 93,000 unfilled vacancies.”