Mandatory vaccines for NHS staff could be pushed back by half a year, it was revealed last night, following nationwide protests over the requirement and amid demands by Tory backbenchers to drop the rule entirely.
Boris Johnson is said to be considering ‘kicking it down the road’ to avoid another potentially humiliating Tory revolt, reported the Telegraph.
It comes just two weeks before medical workers will be required to prove their vaccination status – with February 3 marking the last day they can book in for a jab. On February 4, those without jabs will face dismissal warnings. They will then be asked to work out their notice periods until March 31.
Despite the threats to their career and several booster campaigns, more than 80,000 NHS staff – six per cent of the workforce – remain unvaccinated.
Many of them joined anti-vaxxers across the country on Saturday as they protested against the mandatory vaccine rules. In London, dozens of health workers were seen throwing their scrubs at police officers outside Downing Street, while others laid down their uniforms in Trafalgar Square.
Notorious anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn was among the crowds as they gathered outside BBC Broadcasting House, where one protestor donned a Squid Game mask and biohazard suit, complete with a blow-up syringe.
One Ambulance worker’s uniform was left hanging in Regent’s Park, with a message written on the back, reading: ‘Paramedic 9 years, clapping on Thursday, spat out on Monday.’
The so-called ‘freedom rallies’ were also held in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle, where protestors held up signs reading: ‘No vaccine mandate’ and ‘heros to zeros – from clapping to sacking’.
Although the UK’s mortality rate has dropped massively as more people have been vaccinated, some anti-vaxx nurses maintain the life-saving jab is an ‘experimental drug’.
The demonstrations Saturday came as the Royal College of GPs called on the Government to extend the deadline to prevent mass staff shortages in the health service.
Chairman Martin Marshall said compulsory vaccination for health professionals was ‘not the right way forward’ and about ten per cent of staff at some hospitals and GP surgeries had not had the Covid jab.
Protesting in London, ambulance worker Christabelle Gregory, 32, said: ‘People were once clapping for us but there’s no appreciation any more. I’m young and I’ve got antibodies from working on the frontline, so I don’t want the vaccine.’
In London, dozens of health workers were seen throwing their scrubs at police officers outside Downing Street (pictured), while others dumped their uniforms on the ground by Trafalgar Square
NHS 100k dump their scrubs in Trafalgar Square in Central London during ‘March for Freedom’ protest against mandatory vaccines
All frontline workers who have not received a jab will be called into formal meetings from February 4 and given a warning that they face dismissal (Pictured: NHS scrubs dumped on Trafalgar Square in protest)
Emergency care assistant Victoria Kesserwan, 36, from Oxford, added: ‘I am going to lose the job I love because I don’t want the vaccine. It is too new and we don’t know enough about it.’
The march was joined by more than 1,000 anti-vaxxers and other groups, including activists spouting conspiracy theories that the jabs are part of a global plot to kill and control the population.
Many of the NHS protesters wore blue hoodies produced by the NHS100k campaign group, formed to oppose the NHS mandate. The group claims up to 100,000 health workers may lose their jobs if the Government doesn’t do a U-turn.
But The Mail on Sunday can reveal the group has disturbing links to anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists and Far Right politicians.
The NHS100k website urges supporters to join Rebels On Roundabouts, an anti-vaxxer group whose supporters stand on roundabouts holding yellow signs claiming vaccines are killing children. On its website, the group claims the vaccine rollout ‘is a sinister control and depopulation agenda’.
After it was contacted by this newspaper, NHS100k said it had removed any reference to Rebels On Roundabouts from its website, adding: ‘This type of misinformation is dangerous and definitely not a view NHS100k agrees with.’
Placards from NHS 100K members discarded outside Downing Street following today’s demonstrations in London. NHS workers protested across the country today at the move to ensure all staff are fully vaccinated against Covid
NHS uniforms outside Downing Street. Although the UK’s mortality rate has dropped massively as more of the population has been vaccinated, some anti-vaxx nurses maintain the life-saving vaccine is an ‘experimental drug’
Discarded NHS uniforms outside Downing Street in London following today’s demonstrations. More than 80,000 – 6 per cent of the workforce – remain unvaccinated despite repeated efforts to boost take-up
Protesters with placards saying ‘NHS – 100K Heroes to Zeroes’ standing outside Downing Street, along discarded NHS uniforms. All frontline workers who have not received a jab will be called into formal meetings from February 4 and given a warning that they face dismissal
A woman holds a placard promoting NHS 100k, a group of anti-vaxx ambulance workers who ‘stand united in favour of freedom of choice, bodily autonomy and informed consent’. More than 150,000 people have died from Covid in Britain but the death rate plummeted after people started taking vaccines
A man smiles as he holds a flare and a drum during a march in London for NHS staff against vaccine mandates for workers in the organisation
The infamous anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy, gathered with other protesters outside BBC Broadcasting House, London, to demonstrate against vaccine mandates
A person wearing a Squid Game mask and a biohazard suit holds a blow-up syringe and they protest against the vaccine
A woman jokes as a person in a mask with a blow-up syringe injects her rear. More than 5.5 million people have died from Covid worldwide
Many NHS workers who have worked decades for the organisation face being sacked if they cannot prove their vaccination status
NHS workers holding up signs, from the newly formed group 100K, gather at Regent’s Park in London before joining the demonstrations today
An NHS worker leaves a uniform shirt saying ‘paramedic 9 years, clapping on Thursday, spat out on Monday’ on a railing in Regent’s Park in London today
NHS workers holding up signs saying ‘NHS-100K Heroes to Zeroes’ and ‘no vaccine mandate’ as they march through London today
NHS100k has also urged its tens of thousands of followers to join the Workers of England Union, which is run by leaders of the Far-Right English Democrats party.
The union claims it is not affiliated with any political party, but its leader is Stephen Morris, who is also national party secretary of the English Democrats. The union’s legal adviser is Robin Tilbrook, leader, founder and chairman of English Democrats.
Mr Tilbrook welcomed former BNP members into his party and has met the English Defence League and Britain First in the past. In December 2020 he appeared on an online video channel run by a neo-Nazi named Mark Collett, once leader of the BNP youth wing. Mr Collet is leader of the Hard-Right group Patriotic Alternative.
NHS100k said it was ‘not aware of any allegations that the Workers of England Union is run by people who identify as ‘Far Right’ ‘. It added it had ‘no alignment’ with any party or other organisation.
Mr Morris said: ‘Workers of England Union will undoubtedly have members from various political parties. However, the Workers of England Union is politically neutral, we don’t have a political fund and don’t fund any political party. We are an independent trade union.’
NHS managers have been advised they can move unvaccinated medics from the frontline into roles which do not involve direct patient contact.
Bosses won’t have to help staff find ‘suitable alternative employment’ and redundancy payments will not be made to those who are dismissed.
NHS workers join the protests bearing signs and flares as they march across streets in London. A Covid ‘no jab, no job’ policy for the NHS is to be implemented by the Government in April 2022
A protester holds up their uniform top saying ‘RIP NHS’ in Trafalgar Square during the protests in London today. All frontline staff are required to have both doses of the Covid jab by April 1, meaning that by February 3 the first must have been given
Demonstrators, including some NHS staff, hold up signs against the vaccine at Portland Place in London today. Managers have been advised they can move unvaccinated medics from the frontline into roles which do not involve direct patient contact
NHS staff with balloons hold up signs saying ‘medical apartheid is wrong’ in Trafalgar Square as they join the protests in London today
An NHS worker from the newly formed group NHS100K holds up a sign saying ‘2020 clapped, 2022 sacked’ as protesters gather at Regent’s Park in London today
The demonstration is part of a national campaign calling on healthcare staff to be given ‘freedom of choice’.
A Yorkshire NHS nurse has said she has chosen to walk away from the job she has been in for 30 years rather than have the Covid vaccine.
Cara Barnes, from West Yorkshire, has worked as a specialist nurse for three decades.
But she is set to lose her job as she is refusing to have the Covid-19 jab, which she claims is an ‘experimental drug’.
Trafalgar Square saw a large protest as well, as hundreds gathered to demonstrate against vaccine mandates in the UK
Demonstrators descended on the BBC’s London offices as NHS nurses and key workers joined forces with anti-vaxxers
Many of the signs suggested NHS staff who are not vaccinated shouldn’t be sacked because they were clapped during the pandemic
NHS nurses protest against vaccine mandates that will make it compulsory for nurses to have the life-saving drug
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of London with flags and placards decrying Covid measures in the UK
But Cara, who attended the ‘World Wide Rally For Freedom’ in Leeds city centre today, says she plans to stand firm.
Speaking to Leeds Live, she said: ‘I am not prepared to be injected with an experimental drug.
‘Coercion is not a choice. It is not the fault of the NHS but I am disappointed – this is not how I saw my 30-year career-ending.’
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the town hall in Leeds for today’s protest. NHS staff were seen hanging their uniforms up outside the entrance to the hall to symbolise what they have described as being ‘left out to dry’.
David Hesford, 52, has worked in the NHS for 26 years and is currently a senior health care support officer.
More than 52 million people have taken at least their first dose of the vaccine, which protects people from dying of Covid
The Covid death rate in the UK plunged massively from January 2021 when Britain’s population started to get vaccinated
A woman holds up a sign that says ‘I love my job’. More than 80,000 people in the NHS remain unvaccinated and as such face the sack
NHS staff protest against the coronavirus disease vaccine rules as they face losing their jobs if they don’t take the vaccine
Army veterans salute in support of NHS staff marching in a protest against the coronavirus disease vaccine rules in London
He said he has been told he will be sacked if he does not have the jab but that he has chosen not to disclose his vaccination status.
David said: ‘If the government are going to sack me then they obviously do not care about me.
‘Freedom is the first choice. I have chosen not to divulge my vaccination status – it is about choice.’
People held signs protesting against the BBC, COVID vaccinations and NHS vaccine mandates.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid last week told the Commons the Government remained committed to the plans.
MrJavid previously expressed his disagreement at NHS workers who are against mandatory vaccination and urged the public to get boosted.
He said: ‘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.’
However, he said the government was taking advice ‘from people who are actually experts’.
A man dressed at the grim reaper with a syringe merged with a scythe. Just 1,645 people out of a total 52 million who have taken the vaccine in the UK have died as a result of it, amounting to a minute 0.003 per cent
Demonstrators with signs reading ‘the media is the virus’ and ‘we do not comply’ protest against vaccine measures in the UK
Anti-media protesters and anti-vaxxers joined to make their displeasure known against the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines
A woman smiles as she holds a cardboard sign that says ‘jobs over jabs’. NHS staff without all their jabs will lose their jobs at the start of April
Mr Javid has stuck by the move, saying it was the ‘duty’ of NHS workers to get the jab in order to protect patients, and insisted that he does ‘not want to see anyone have to walk away from their job’.
‘This is all about patient safety, we know vaccines work, we know that they reduce the risk of you being infected, so it reduces the spread of an infection,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘People whether they are in care homes or a hospital bed, they are particularly vulnerable to this virus, it could be fatal. It is our duty to everything we can to protect them.’
A ‘Worldwide Rally For Freedom’ protest march takes place in Newcastle this afternoon outside the BBC’s offices in the city
A man with a placard attacking vaccines for teens takes part in an anti-vaxx protest in Newcastle. It is unclear where the man has sourced his claims from
Mr Javid said the public would have questioned why they did not introduce the policy, when other countries around he world have. ‘I think you’d have me on the show saying ‘why didn’t you do anything about it?’,’ he said.
Covid cases were down 6 per cent from 81,713 to 76,807 this week, while deaths stayed at a fairly similar level, up from 287 to 297.
More than 52.2 million people in the UK have had their first dose, with 48.1 million having their second and 36.8 million having their third.
SWEDEN: A group marching as people demonstrated against vaccine passes in the Swedish capital Stockholm today. More than 3,000 attended
SWEDEN: Hundreds of protesters gather to protest vaccine passes, which in the country are required for indoor events with more than 50 people, in Stockholm
SWEDEN: Thousands of protesters in Stockholm gather, some holding placards, to protest the Swedish government’s rules regarding Covid
SWEDEN: Demonstrators gather to protest against Covid-19 restrictions and requirements during a rally ‘for a free Sweden without vaccine pass’
SWEDEN: The protests in Stockholm were organised by Frihetsrorelsen (Freedom Movement). Swedish media said some neo-Nazi groups also attended with a banner (not pictured)
SWEDEN: Demonstrators in Stockholm march with a banner saying ‘no to vaccine pass’. Another placard translates ‘don’t be children’
GREECE: People hold banners, one of them reading, ‘Money for health and education-stop military spending’, as they demonstrate against the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in Athens
GREECE: Protesters take part in a rally at the Syntagma square in Athens. Hundreds gathered to demonstrate against staff shortages in the state’s heath sector as well as compulsory vaccinations
GREECE: Hundreds marched across Athens today to protest against mandatory vaccination’s and the government’s handling of the pandemic
Some NHS chiefs have hit out at the rule to ensure all NHS workers are vaccinated as they say it may fuel a staffing shortage.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) called for the policy for NHS staff to be ‘delayed with immediate effect’ to avoid similar shortages among key workers.
It said the NHS ‘cannot afford to lose experienced and skilled staff’.
FRANCE: Crowds march in Paris as demonstrators, some bearing the French flag, protest against vaccine passes and vaccinations against Covid
FRANCE: A protester holds a sign saying ‘no to the vaccination pass’ as people protest against the country’s Covid policies in Paris today
FRANCE: A protester holds a ‘stop’ sign as crowds march through Paris to demonstrate their opposition to vaccine passes and vaccines
FRANCE: A man wearing a Donald Trump cap holds a mask depicting French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration called by French nationalist party ‘Les Patriotes’ (The Patriots), to protest against the country’s vaccine pass
FRANCE: Protesters hold up signs saying ‘freedom’, some waving French flags while another holds up a US flag, in today’s demonstration in Paris
SPAIN: A protester wearing a costume walks down the street during a demonstration against Covid passport rules in Barcelona today
SPAIN: A man holds up a badge saying ‘the health dictatorship is modern Nazism’ and a sign calling for the stopping of vaccine passports in Barcelona today
SPAIN: A protester in costume holding a prop syringe during a demonstration against Covid restrictions, including vaccine passports, in Barcelona today
SPAIN: Protesters holding placards, one saying ‘unvaccinated sperm, new bitcoin’ following demonstrations in Barcelona today
And medical trade unions said the policy should be pushed back to give hospitals more time to persuade staff to come forward for an injection.
The Royal College of Nursing said the move ‘looks set to backfire’ and is ‘an act of self-sabotage’, while the Royal College Midwives warned compulsory vaccines will ‘only see staffing levels fall further’ and have a ‘catastrophic impact’.
And the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS trusts in England, said hospitals’ frontline staff will be pushed out of their roles, leading to ‘more gaps in capacity at a time of intense pressure and patient demand’.
But Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said vaccines are ‘the best protection against the virus’ and the ‘overwhelming majority’ of medics have already been double-jabbed.
‘NHS employers will continue to support and encourage staff who have not yet been vaccinated to take up the offer of the first and second doses ahead of the April 1, when regulations come into effect,’ he said.