Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid face pressure from MPs and some clinicians amid staffing crisis.
The government is considering pausing its plans to make coronavirus vaccination mandatory for NHS staff, according to a report, over fears that some 70,000 health service staff could be lost as a result.
The new rules are set to come into force on 1 April – with the necessary gap between doses meaning that staff who have not received their first jab by 3 February will soon start to receive letters of dismissal.
Both the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives have separately called upon Sajid Javid, the health secretary, to halt the move voted for by MPs last month, with the former warning it “would be an act of self-sabotage” in light of the staffing crisis plaguing the NHS.
An increasingly embattled Boris Johnson – who is fighting to save his job over allegations of lockdown-busting parties in No 10 – faces continued opposition from Tory MPs over the plans, the vote on which constituted one of the largest rebellions of his premiership so far.
As the prime minister announced an end to England’s plan B restrictions in the Commons on Thursday, Tory MP Andrew Murrison – a former Royal Navy surgeon – challenged him to “think again” on the vaccine mandate, citing “leaked advice” from officials to ministers warning that the move “is neither rational nor proportionate given what we now know about Omicron, and its behaviour”.