Coronavirus in Portsmouth: Queen Alexandra Hospital medical director mulls 'revisiting' mandatory vaccine for staff

ALL city hospital staff could be required to have a Covid-19 vaccine going forward, a health meeting has been told.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 7:00 am

So far 88 per cent of Queen Alexandra Hospital staff have taken up the offer of a first dose. All staff have been offered a jab.

Concerns over the take-up of the coronavirus jab by those working at the hospital in Cosham and St Mary’s Community Health Campus in Milton have been raised, with a push to increase numbers planned.

Health bosses said proposals to make vaccinations for hospital staff mandatory could be ‘revisited’ in the future.

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Chief nurse Liz Rix administers a vaccine to Michael Tibbs, 99, the first person in the south west to received a Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: Ewan Galvin/Solent News & Photo Agency

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Speaking at a health overview and scrutiny panel today, the deputy chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals University Trust, Penny Emerit, said: ‘100 per cent of staff have all been offered the opportunity to take up the Covid vaccine.

‘88 per cent have now taken up that opportunity for a first dose, and we are now in the process of administering the second dose.

‘We are working to try to increase that as we need to get that as high as possible.

The team of nurses from QA hospital, that have made the administering of the COVID vaccine to Michael Tibbs, 99, possible on December 8. © Ewan Galvin/Solent News & Photo Agency

‘Additional things we have done include trying to understand what particular concerns might be driving our staff not to take the vaccine.

‘We are working with obstetricians on concerns around pregnancy and other issues and also with ethnic minority staff to make sure they are taking up the offer as well.’

Panel member and Gosport councillor, Philip Raffaelli, asked if the Covid vaccine could become a requirement to work in certain areas of hospitals.

In response, Dr John Knighton, medical director at the trust, said: ‘We have talked about it in the last few years around flu vaccinations and for Covid it is something that is currently been talked about with the chief medical officer but there doesn’t seem to be an appetite to make that mandatory.

‘I can see we may end up revisiting that, maybe through a combination of professional and public pressure.’

It comes as it was recently revealed around 66,000 people in Portsmouth have had their first dose of a Covid vaccine, with a further 6,000 having had their second vaccine.

Portsmouth City Council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, told The News between five and 10 per cent of each category of people called up for their vaccine in Portsmouth haven’t been taking it.

‘We want to encourage that five to 10 per cent of people to have their vaccines when they are offered them,’ he said.

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