Alastair Stewart: To introduce no jab no job seems draconian

Care homes are once again a battlefield

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From the outbreak of the coronavirus, care homes have been a bleak battle field.

From having untested patients arriving from hospitals to make room for folk infected with Covid, via shortages of PPE, to brutal restrictions on visiting rights for residents’ nearest and dearest - it has been very hard.

Last night it got harder: all staff must now be fully vaccinated against Covid or they lose their jobs.

The NHS reckons about 50,000 haven’t been jabbed - many more than the Health and Care Secretary estimated when he unveiled the policy.

The National Care Forum reckons around 8% of its staff could have walked today - or face being fired.

Next up, it's the NHS itself, from April next year.

To be clear, however, this isn’t just a medical question. For some it is an ethical question and a scientific one, too.

It seems obvious that anyone who wants to work in the care sector - or the health service, come to that - would want to do anything and everything in their power to keep their patients safe.

Few, if any, in the NHS argue against having protection against Hepatitis B for example.

But now it gets tricky.

First, a good few argue this is simply and invasion of their civil liberties. In some cases their religious beliefs, too.

The jab wasn’t and couldn’t have been a condition of employment when the vast majority joined the sector because neither it nor Covid existed.

To make it a condition of ‘continued’ existence is a pretty fundamental shift.

Others are genuinely fearful of some Covid vaccines claiming they are a form of unproven gene therapy, released from the labs without being fully tested according to the normal protocols.

Among their supporters are those who say, such has been the duration of the pandemic, many will have natural immunity now and so they don’t need vaccination.

For any of all of these reasons, they have declined vaccination and presumably will continue to decline it….

For the rest of us, especially if we have relatives on the threshold of becoming customers in the care sector, there is another grave concern. It is a sector already under pressure from huge labour shortages - the unions say more than 100,000 posts remained unfilled.

Clearly this policy will compound that problem.

Care homes have already closed; many tonight are no longer accepting new admissions.

It is expected that some will be pointed in the direction of hospitals - already hard pressed with albeit declining covid cases and already wrestling with rising waiting lists.

The fact that similar rules or mandates already exist in France and Greece - and an even tougher rule in the States were all federal employees must be jabbed - won’t make a lot of difference to the morally and scientifically reluctant.

Here at GB News there are a range of views on this very difficult question.

For my part, it is a call on the balance of probabilities.

On the science of vaccinations I will simply say I have had all three doses offered to me.

On freedom of choice, and what might seem like the actions of a dictatorial state, I am in favour of what may seem by some to be an imposition for the well being of the majority.

I find the trickiest part, oddly enough, employment law.

To introduce a new condition of work and make it mandatory - do it or face the sack - seems draconian.

I think is could, even should, open employers and the Government to actions for damages on the grounds of unfair dismissal