As mandatory vaccinations have now been extended to all frontline health and social care staff, a new impact statement analyses the potential drawbacks and positives of this move.

According to a new impact statement released by the Department of Health and Social Care, the cost of recruiting new staff to replace those who have not received two doses of the vaccine could total to £270 million.

This comes after the Health and Social Care Secretary’s recent announcement stating that frontline workers within the NHS must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be deployed.

This follows a similar policy mandated for care home workers which is set to be enforced from today (11th November).

In light of this, the Government released an impact statement, evaluating the benefits and drawbacks to enforcing mandatory vaccinations for health and social care staff.

The figures showed that the policy could encourage 27,000 workers across health and social care to get inoculated against coronavirus.

However, it noted that the policy is likely to have a greater impact in domiciliary care and other care settings where uptake rates are lower compared to healthcare settings.

Arguing the benefits, the document stated making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory would offer health benefits to the staff members as well as averting sickness absence, saving £4.3 million.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the impact statement warned of the recruitment costs associated with replacing workers who may not fulfil the requirement of having both doses of the vaccine by the end of the 12-week grace period.

With 73,000 workers within the NHS expected to have not fulfilled the conditions of deployment, estimates suggest £270 million could be spent on replacing staff who do not receive the vaccine, with £185 million of this sum attributed to healthcare workers.

This could have an adverse impact on the NHS as a whole, leading to a lack of staff in services which are already stretched, the report warns.

Additionally, the report states that mandating vaccinations could lead to a loss in productivity as inexperienced staff are recruited to replace those who leave, potentially lower staff morale and raise administration costs for health and care providers where workers have to be redeployed.

Despite this, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid, argued in favour of the new policy:

Vaccines save lives and patient safety is paramount. Many of the people being treated in hospitals or cared for at home are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. We have a responsibility to give patients and staff the best possible protection.

Enforcement regarding mandatory vaccinations for health and social care staff is expected to begin from 1st April 2021.