Vaccine mandate for England's healthcare workers

The British government has decided to introduce mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers in England against COVID-19 next April.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced the measure for Britain's most populous region on Tuesday.

It requires all National Health Service workers in England to be inoculated in principle by April 1.

The coronavirus outbreak is surging again in Britain, with new cases exceeding 30,000 in recent days.

Javid noted that frontline healthcare workers are in close contact with some of the most vulnerable people in society.

He said, "We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and of course protect the NHS itself."

The latest figures show that about 90 percent of workers at NHS institutions have received at least two vaccine doses. But an estimated 100,000 workers are yet to have their first shot.

Some warn that the mandatory program could force workers who do not want to be inoculated to leave their jobs, resulting in further staff shortages at the NHS.