BDA Trade Union position on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations

06 Oct 2021

The BDA Trade Union National Executive Committee has taken a clear and definitive position in opposition to any attempts to make the take-up of the vaccination mandatory.

Our preferred option is that whilst we are in favour of as many NHS staff as possible receiving the required doses of the vaccination, we consider that making this a condition of deployment is unacceptable.

The Government is currently undertaking consultation on making vaccinations a mandatory requirement for staff in the NHS and we consider this to be extremely problematic for the following reasons:

  • Staff who have legitimate medical reasons for not being vaccinated could be subject to unfair treatment, isolation or discrimination
  • There is likely to be a loss of staff from the NHS who feel unable to take up the vaccination, which will simply add to the pressure on services and NHS staff, resulting in greater treatment delays
  • Mandatory vaccination could potentially discriminate against staff with protected characteristics as contained in the Equality Act 2010, for example:
    • Race
    • Disability
    • Age
    • Sex
    • Pregnancy and maternity
    • Religion or belief

We are concerned that there some staff may already be subject to unfair treatment such as being told that they could lose their job, be downgraded or redeployed if they refuse the vaccination. If any member finds themselves in this position, they should contact their local trade union rep or the BDA office for advice as this could be a breach of the employment contract and we may advice the use of the grievance procedure to seek resolution.

We are keen that local employers should support staff in getting the vaccination and provide clear and comprehensive advice and information especially to anyone who is nervous or anxious.

The Staff side of the NHS staff council in England will be preparing a joint response to the government consultation as we are all in agreement that we oppose mandatory vaccinations.