Covid: Hampshire midwife fears for job over vaccine refusal

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Erika Thompson
Image caption,
Erika Thompson says she is not against vaccines but made a personal decision not to be vaccinated

A midwife fears losing her job over her refusal to get a Covid vaccination due to having a health condition.

Making vaccination a condition of employment will apply to NHS workers from 1 April.

But Erika Thompson, from Hampshire, says she has chosen not to get vaccinated as she has heart inflammation conditions.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) says vaccinations remain the "best defence" against the virus.

Ms Thompson, who has previously had Covid, is an independent midwife but also works at her local NHS local unit when they need staff.

She is not against vaccines but feels the risks for her personal health are not worth getting the jab.

She said: "I don't want to not be a midwife anymore. I feel like it's part of who I am.

"But I also feel strongly that a mandate is not the way forward and that it's infringing on our human rights to make these decisions."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The Royal College of Midwives does not believe mandatory vaccines are the correct approach

She said she had seen evidence of very rare cases where heart conditions are affected by the vaccines, and considered her personal circumstances before deciding not to get vaccinated.

When asked by the BBC if Covid also posed a risk to her, she replied: "Absolutely, yes... I have had Covid and I have got natural immunity, and I think we need to ask the question why are we not considering natural immunity in this equation."

Immunity against serious illness, gained by catching Covid, wanes faster than the protection from vaccines, according to Prof Adam Finn, a government vaccine adviser.

Ms Thompson said the NHS could not afford to lose staff "or their years' of experience and it will be the public who suffer as a result".

She added: "Why spend all this time protecting the NHS only to decimate it overnight by sacking the staff?"

The British Heart Foundation currently recommends that people with a history of heart inflammation still take the vaccine.

About 90% of NHS workers are already vaccinated but an estimated 7,000 NHS staff have yet to have one jab in the south region.

Both the Royal College of Midwives and Unison support staff getting vaccinated but they are opposed to making it mandatory.

A DHSC spokesperson said: "NHS and care staff do amazing work and we are thankful to those who have chosen to get the vaccine.

"Health and social care workers are responsible for looking after some of the most vulnerable people in society, many of whom are more likely to suffer serious health consequences if exposed to the virus.

"This is about patient safety, and ensuring people in hospital or care have as much protection as possible."

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