UK Covid live: No 10 refuses to back health chief’s call for people to avoid unnecessary socialising

Unusual rebuke for Dr Jenny Harries comes after she says reducing social contacts could help keep new variant’s spread at bay

Ministers have failed to provide proper evidence to justify their decision to require all frontline NHS staff to get vaccinated, a Lords committee says today.

In a report (pdf), the Lords secondary legislation scrutiny committee says that the Department of Health and Social Care’s own figures suggest the benefits will not justify the cost.

DHSC’s figures anticipate that, of the 208,000 currently unvaccinated workers in the sector, this legislation will result in 54,000 (26%) additional staff being vaccinated and 126,000 (61%) losing their jobs as a result of not complying with the requirement of being vaccinated: this seems a disproportionately small gain for legislation that is anticipated to cause £270m in additional costs and major disruption to the health and care provision at the end of the grace period. The house may expect to be provided with some very strong evidence to support this policy choice, and DHSC has signally failed to do so.

We fully support high levels of vaccination, but DHSC is accountable to parliament for its decisions and needs to give us a clear statement of the effect of these regulations, the effect of doing nothing and any other solutions considered, so parliament fully understands all the consequences of what it is being asked to agree to. This is particularly important when the NHS is already under such pressure.

DHSC has provided no single coherent statement to explain and justify its intended policy, and this undermines the ability of the house to undertake effective scrutiny of the proposed legislation.

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Source: The Guardian