Hundreds of Herts health workers decline COVID-19 vaccines

Herts health workers have declined the coronavirus jab.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed hundreds of Hertfordshire health staff have declined to be vaccinated against COVID-19. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Hundreds of hospital and GP staff in the Herts valleys have refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19, new data has revealed.

The figures showed that as of last month, roughly one in 20 people who worked in GP surgeries had rejected the jabs.

Health bosses have declined to be interviewed about why staff are refusing the life-saving vaccines or whether they would be kept away from unvaccinated patients.

But the Herts Ad understands that the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust is providing online information sessions and offering private meetings with managers in a bid to allay concerns.

The West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust issued a statement saying: “We continue to work closely with the small minority of our staff who haven’t yet had their vaccine, to try and understand and overcome any reasons that may be causing them to be hesitant, so that no one is left behind.”

The figures were disclosed by the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which runs NHS services in St Albans, Harpenden, Dacorum, Hertsmere, Watford and Three Rivers.

The data showed that by February 18, a total of 5,094 hospital staff had been offered a vaccine – but 189, or 3.7 per cent, turned it down.

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Whilst the British Medical Journal reported last month that ethnic minority health staff were less likely to accept the jab, that was not true in the Herts valleys.

Only 52 out of 189 hospital staff who rejected the vaccine – 27.5 per cent – were classified as BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic).

In the same period, 1,892 GP staff were offered the vaccine, of whom 91, or 4.8 per cent, refused it.

There was no ethnic breakdown for GP staff.

The Herts Ad asked the CCG and two hospital trusts whether it could interview staff senior staff about the problem of health workers declining the jab.

All three declined and instead issued statements.

The Herts Community NHS Trust said it was “delighted” that so many staff had already been vaccinated and assured those with concerns that it was “quick and efficient, safe and effective, and painless”.

The CCG said: “We urge anyone who has not already had their jab to do so, as it’s the best way to protect yourself and others from the virus.”