JANET STREET-PORTER: One in 10 in NHS don't want to protect themselves

JANET STREET-PORTER: Why should we protect the NHS when almost one in ten of them can’t be bothered to protect themselves with a jab?

Choosing not to be vaccinated is plain stupid. I’m all for freedom of choice, people wearing what they want, folk believing in whatever god they like- but shunning a vaccine which protects you from serious illness and potential death – AND MOST IMPORTANTLY EVERYONE AROUND YOU – is a sign of arrogance, of pig-headed selfishness.

Given the dreadful toll that Covid has taken on the nation’s physical and mental health, it’s hard to understand why so many health workers – the very people we trust to get us well, are refusing to be vaccinated.

Nearly one in ten NHS workers are still not fully protected against the very disease they are struggling to contain and combat. In London one in seven doctors is off sick.

These people are intelligent, hardworking and knowledgeable, so why are they taking this stand?

Tony Blair can be irritating, but on this occasion, he’s right. He described the unjabbed as ‘idiots’.

Most people – especially those being told they can’t visit their elderly relatives in care homes this Christmas- would use far stronger language.

It’s time to call a halt on our traditionally polite British way of doing things, of encouraging people to make up their minds about getting jabbed ‘when they feel ready’. Covid – or more precisely, the aggressive new strain of Omicron – is about to bring the NHS to it’s knees by closing down wards.

Nearly one in ten NHS workers are still not fully protected against the very disease they are struggling to contain and combat

People queue outside the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) for the NHS Scotland vaccination centre

Boris Johnson speaks with people during a visit to an NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre on December 16, 2021 near Ramsgate

It’s draining the life out of London, the city I love – closing theatres, restaurants and bars – and ruining the pleasure that millions of football fans gain from matches in the festive season with over half the top matches scrubbed because teams are decimated by the virus.

The anti-vaxxers and the ‘can’t-be-bothered’ unjabbed are cancelling Christmas, not Boris and his feeble Cabinet.

The latest version of covid may or may not be as serious as the Delta variant (we’re still waiting for definite proof from the doom merchants at SAGE) but everyone is in agreement – Omicron is much more contagious.

Despite endless government campaigns, a hard core of refuseniks still shun vaccination. These aren’t just the placard waving crazies like Piers Corbyn demonstrating in the centre of London, but over 130,000 nurses, doctors and care workers slogging away in NHS hospitals all over the country. The people who really ought to know better.

Being unjabbed means if they test positive for the virus, they must take a minimum of a week off work, plus everyone they’ve come into contact must test and self-isolate too if they get a positive result. And out of those staff members who have had two jabs, 23% haven’t yet bothered to get a booster, so they are not fully protected.

That’s the reason why the NHS is on its knees even before the peak of the latest wave of Omicron hits in a couple of weeks. Before covid arrived in the UK in 2020, the NHS was already struggling to recruit, managing with a shortfall of 100,000 staff. Agency nurses and Locum doctors were the norm. Now, the situation is so much worse.

And why, you might well ask?

Is it their religious beliefs? Is it a lack of time? Is it anxiety about side effects? Or are they ‘special’ people in some secret way?

The government took the drastic step of insisting all care home staff had to be jabbed by November 11th. But ‘no jab, no job’ doesn’t apply to NHS frontline workers until April 2022.

With over 100,000 cases a day, and hospital admissions rising, the time has come for a rethink. NHS staff must be told to shape up, get jabbed, or shift out. Why endanger the lives of their patients – and themselves – by continuing to refuse to protect themselves against Covid?

The NHS estimate that in hospitals with a high number of Covid patients – the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated – a third of staff could be off sick due to Covid infections within a couple of weeks.

So, the collapse of the NHS isn’t entirely down to the public not following basic rules about mask wearing, mingling and social distancing. It’s also partly down to vaccine refuseniks, both inside and outside the NHS.

One third of people in London are not yet vaccinated, with the infection rate one of the highest in the country. Sadiq Khan – the useless London major – must be judged on his failure to get Londoner jabbed.

Bomdardier Ian Bloomfield of the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery administers a vaccine to Sheila Riberio at the Covid vaccination centre in Rates Hall Manchester as the coronavirus booster programme continues across the UK

These people are intelligent, hardworking and knowledgeable, so why are they taking this stand? asks JANET STREET-PORTER

The proportion of people who have had no jabs at all is three times higher in his city than anywhere else in the country. The fourteen places in England with the lowest vaccination rates are all the London boroughs, with just 54% of those in Newham double jabbed, 57.5% in Haringey, 56.3% in Brent and 53.7% in Westminster.

A set of figures of which Mr Khan should be ashamed. Instead of trilling on the airwaves about the thrilling prospect of ‘rewilding’ London’s parks with otters and god knows what, he should be touring the streets of Tower Hamlets, going from door-to-door with a Mayoral jabbing team.

There are all sorts of reason cited for London’s poor vaccine uptake – it’s ethnically diverse, has ‘lots of poverty’, and transient population who don’t register with local GPs – and so on. But the mayor must see that low vaccination rates will kill off the vibrant city he professes to be so proud of.

As for overpaid footballers, it’s revolting that the unjabbed continue to draw huge wages whilst refusing to be vaccinated for ‘personal reasons’- putting team mates at risk. Last weekend, six out of ten Premier League games were cancelled because of Covid, with one called off just two hours before kickoff.

The Premier League says that 84% of players are ‘on the vaccination journey’ but that obscures the stark fact that one or two unvaccinated players in a team are a huge risk to other players and staff members.

No wonder Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists all players must be vaccinated. Compared to other Premier leagues in Europe our player vaccination rate is pathetic. In Germany, the rate is 94%, Italy 98%, Spain 93% and France 95%.

And how many games have these leagues cancelled over the last two weeks? Precisely zero.

For the England Football league, the figures are even worse – 25% of players are said to be refusing the jab at all, and only 59% have been vaccinated. Managers are waffling on about ‘personal choice’ but should any player be paid to put the health of his team mates at risk and deny fans the sport they have paid so much to watch? Surely these young men are role models and should set an example to their peers.

No jab, no play, no pay.

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