We note the Government is consulting on revoking the regulations that make vaccination against COVID-19 a condition of deployment for health and social care workers in England, based on the latest emerging evidence. The GMC has reviewed and updated its advice for doctors on vaccinations accordingly.
While the GMC does not consider that solely turning down vaccination would in itself form the basis of a fitness to practise referral, doctors have a professional duty to protect patients from risks posed by their health, and to be immunised against common serious communicable diseases, unless contraindicated.
The GMC and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have consistently made clear that in the case of COVID-19, the potential risk to a doctor’s own health as well the risk of inadvertently spreading the virus to vulnerable patients weighs very strongly in favour of doctors being vaccinated. Reducing the number of staff members who are sick or in self-isolation also has a positive impact on workforce capacity to respond to patient need and wider health service demands.
Being a good doctor means more than simply being a good clinician. Doctors can provide leadership to their colleagues and vision for the organisations in which they work and for the profession as a whole.
Whether or not vaccination is required as a condition of deployment, it continues to be one of the most effective ways to protect patients, staff and the health service itself. Over 95% of doctors have already received at least two vaccinations, with the majority of these having also been boosted. We strongly encourage those who haven’t yet taken up the full course of vaccination to do so.
In agreeing this statement the Academy Council also elected to update its own position in the light of the evolving official guidance. That work is underway, but in the meantime the current statement can be viewed here.
10 February 2022
© 2023 Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.