13.08.2022

Forcing people to have a vaccine to keep their job would be ‘discriminatory’

The statement came following reports that ministers believed employers who required their staff to receive a jab would be protected under health and safety laws.

Forcing workers to have a coronavirus vaccine to keep their job would be “discriminatory”, Downing Street has said.

Some care home staff are reportedly refusing to have a Covid jab, with some providers said to be considering not hiring staff who have refused the vaccination on non-medical grounds.

And Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, said last month that his London-based company would not take on anybody who has not been vaccinated.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing on that “taking a vaccine is not mandatory and it would be discriminatory to force somebody to take one.”

The DailyTelegraph reported some ministers believe companies which adopt a “jab for a job” stance would be protected.

The newspaper quoted a government source as saying: “Health and safety laws say you have to protect other people at work, and when it becomes about protecting other people the argument gets stronger.”

But prime minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing on Monday: “Taking a vaccine is not mandatory and it would be discriminatory to force somebody to take one.”

The government has previously declined to say whether it is recording data on who has refused a coronavirus vaccine.

One of the UK’s largest care home groups, Barchester Healthcare, said last month that it will not hire new staff who have refused the vaccine on non-medical grounds because of the vulnerability of its residents.

However Unison has urged the government to take action against any care home employers who refuse to employ staff who are hesitant about having the jab.

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