Thousands of nurses in the UK are yet to receive a first dose of a Covid vaccine, with less than a week to go until the Government’s deadline to vaccinate all 15 million people in the top four vaccine priority groups.
Findings from a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey show that around 15 per cent of nurses are yet to be offered a first dose, while the remaining 85 per cent have had at least one dose.
These findings, based on a survey of more than 24,000 nurses, have sparked concerns that a significant number of healthcare professionals are still vulnerable to the disease and could still contract and spread it easily.
NHS nurses have highest vaccination rate
The vaccination rate is higher among nurses directly employed by the NHS, at 91 per cent, while only 71 per cent of those working for care homes or as health visitors for other firms report receiving a vaccine.
Nurses who work through an employment agency were least likely to have been offered a jab, with 35 per cent of people in this situation still not having been invited to receive one.
The RCN said that if the survey's findings are true of their full membership, then around 75,000 nurses have still not had their first jab.
While most of those surveyed had not received a jab because it hadn’t been offered, a small number of nurses have refused the vaccine.
Some have refused the vaccine
Among those who said they had refused a jab, 38 per cent said they were undecided and didn’t want it at the moment and 33 per cent said they now had an appointment to receive it, while 12 per cent said they didn’t want the vaccine at all.
A department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said that the Government’s target of vaccinating all the people in the top four priority groups will be met.
They commented: “This includes temporary, agency and voluntary workers who are at an increased risk of contracting or transmitting the virus to other people particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, as well as to other staff in a healthcare environment.
“The NHS is working at pace to vaccinate these groups and we are on track to offer a vaccination to everyone in these first four priority groups by mid-February.”