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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Public consultation planned on vaccination for new recruits

Health Minister Robin Swann has announced plans for a public consultation on mandatory COVID-19 and flu vaccination for new recruits to the health and social care workforce in Northern Ireland.

The Minister said introducing such a measure would be a significant development that should only be undertaken after careful consideration.

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“Vaccination is central to our efforts to support health and social care services during this extremely challenging winter and beyond. I remain convinced that persuasion is the best and most effective option when it comes to vaccination.

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“There are compelling arguments that mandatory vaccination for existing health and social care staff in Northern Ireland could be counter-productive – potentially destabilising an already fragile workforce.

“Against that, I also have great sympathy for those who only want their loved ones to be cared for by fully vaccinated staff.”

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The Minister continued: “All options remain under consideration. I will closely monitor the situation in England – including the impact of mandatory vaccination on staffing in its social care sector.

“Notwithstanding the challenges, I want to see progress in this area. I look to Trusts, care homes and other employers to continue making every effort to persuade staff of the benefits of both COVID-19 and flu vaccination.

“Furthermore, in announcing my intention to consult on making COVID and flu vaccination compulsory for people starting new jobs in health and social care, I want a constructive engagement.

“There is no predetermined outcome. Trade unions, employees and employers will have a key role in this consultation, but the views of the general public will also be very important.”

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