A member survey on flu and Covid vaccinations in England has found that mandating vaccination alone is unlikely to improve vaccination rates significantly.
Of the over 4,200 CSP members who responded only two per cent said that compulsion will make them accept Covid jabs.
In contrast 89 per cent of members are following CSP advice and will be fully vaccinated against Covid by next April. The government in England is introducing mandatory Covid vaccination by April 2022 for staff working in CQC registered settings. But the government accepted arguments against compulsory flu vaccination.
The survey suggests more needs to be done to convince a minority of sceptical physios, support workers and students. Unless they are won round NHS services could lose seven per cent of physio staff, while independent services could lose 11 per cent of their staff.
Worryingly for the future workforce 14 per cent of physio students said they would not accept vaccination. Rates of hesitancy are higher for Black and Asian members than for White members. This highlights the potential disproportionate impact mandating jabs could have on the make-up of the profession.
More positively, the findings may suggest that many people could be persuadable. Setting out the scientific evidence, reassuring people who have had previous reactions to vaccinations and allaying fears about long-term health conditions would all help. The CSP is urging employers and NHS England to try new ways to engage vaccine hesitant communities.
Provide easier access to vaccinations
The CSP has consistently argued for easier access to vaccinations to improve take up. The survey found many physios are keen to be fully vaccinated but have not yet had two doses. Reasons for not to be fully vaccinated yet mainly relate to problems accessing vaccinations locally, time and ill health.
The survey shows divergent views amongst members on mandatory vaccinations. There are small majorities for mandating for Covid in most, but not all, membership groups. However, a majority in all categories oppose mandating vaccination for flu.
The Northern Ireland administration is currently consulting on mandatory vaccinations for flu and Covid. Scotland and Wales are not currently proposing compulsory vaccinations.
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