Staff's Covid jab concerns 'should not be dismissed', says NHS trust boss

BHRUT's new chief executive Matthew Trainer at Queens Hospital in Romford.
Picture by Ellie Hoskins

BHRUT chief executive Matthew Trainer said the trust would support staff in making a decision on whether to get Covid vaccinated - Credit: Ellie Hoskins

The boss of an NHS trust which runs hospitals in Romford and Goodmayes has offered support to unvaccinated staff, saying some have "rational concerns" about getting a Covid jab.

Earlier this month, the government announced that health workers must be fully vaccinated against the virus, with enforcement due to begin in April.

The measures apply to staff who have direct, face-to-face contact with patients while providing care, unless they are exempt.

Matthew Trainer, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), said 84 per cent of its staff have had the Covid vaccination.

He said: "For the ones that haven't, I think it's important we realise there's a couple of different reasons why people might not have it.

"Some people have got a medical exemption and staff with a medical exemption will not need to have it. Some people have got rational concerns about it.

"I have spoken to women who are interested in the impact it might have on their fertility and the other thing we've got to realise is some people are genuinely a bit frightened about what it might do to them and what it might feel like. 

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"I don't think we should dismiss that and I think we should recognise there is a range of reasonable situations in which people haven't yet had the jab."

Mr Trainer started in his role in August overseeing the trust's two hospitals - Queen's in Romford and King George in Goodmayes.

He said the trust would focus between now and April on ensuring staff have the support and information needed to make a decision on whether or not to have the jab.

Similar regulations have already come into force requiring staff at care homes in England to be vaccinated.

When the compulsory measures for health workers were announced, health secretary Sajid Javid said there is a responsibility to give patients and staff the "best possible protection".

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard added: "The NHS has always been clear that staff should get the life-saving Covid vaccination to protect themselves, their loved ones and their patients and the overwhelming majority have already done so."