The House of Commons in the United Kingdom voted 319 to 246 on Tuesday evening to mandate health and social care employees in England to take one of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of employment, with an exception built in based simply on “evidence” of medical consequences.
Everyone working in a care home certified with the Care Quality Commission (England’s health-care regulating authority) will be expected to have undergone a full course of COVID-19 “vaccination.” Unimmunized employees will have a 16-week grace period until the law takes effect at the end of October. After that, a punishment of up to £4,000 might be imposed if the new regulation is broken.
Employees who fail to take the vaccine may be instructed to look for another job that does not include serving in a care home, according to a spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Parliament’s action to make obligatory vaccination for healthcare workers originated from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) recommendation, which stated an apparent need for “uptake rates of 80% in staff and 90% in residents in care home settings … to provide a minimum level of protection against further outbreaks” of the virus, Edward Timpson, a Conservative Member of Parliament for Eddisbury in Cheshire who supported the legislation, told LifeSiteNews.
After the vote in support of mandatory “vaccination,” Conservative MP William Wragg declared the government treated the House with absolute disdain.
“Is that what we’re prepared to do to our fellow citizens as a Conservative government?” Wragg questioned. “It’s absolute lunacy. You’d expect this in a communist country.” He also cited the example of a healthcare worker who voiced concern that the new law would lead to her job loss.
Conservative MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Sir Edward Leigh, both prominent Catholics in British public life, approved the punitive legislation.
In June, the new restrictions were announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, along with preparations for public consultation on expanding the vaccine obligation to National Health Service employees. The vaccination requirement is a reasonable step toward saving lives, he said.
However, unions have opposed mandated vaccinations, claiming that it treats employees differently than the broader public.
The government should emphasize convincing employees to be vaccinated rather than implementing obligations that could repel them. More than a third of care home staff have said they would consider quitting if they were required to be inoculated, said GMB union, a general trade organization in the United Kingdom.
Concern about making inoculations a civil rights issue has been expressed by experts. Those hesitant may reject the government telling them what to do, said Dr. David Elliman, a consultant who works with vulnerable children and their caregivers.
“Staff in health and social care have been working under extreme pressure during the pandemic. They are overworked, underpaid and in short supply,” Elliman stated. “Rather than introduce compulsion, which could be counterproductive, we need to engage with hesitant staff, ideally on a one-to-one basis to try and allay their concerns.”
An online petition was set up by David Richards with the message: “Do not require health and social care workers to take COVID-19 vaccination” has got more than 88,000 signatures so far. At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
“We, the people, demand that health and social care workers are given the right to exercise free will in relation to any medical procedure and so to be able to refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccination without fear of facing discrimination at work or in wider society”, said the appeal.