Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Do doctors have to have the covid-19 vaccine?

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 29 March 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n810

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Covid-19: Is the UK heading towards mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers?

Rapid Response:

Re: Do doctors have to have the covid-19 vaccine?

Dear Editor,

Public health requirements are nothing new in medicine. Doctors and other medical professionals are not forced to have vaccines, however to perform certain procedures they must prove they are free from diseases that put themselves at risk to patients (1).

COVID-19 is the greatest threat to public health since the creation of the NHS. Healthcare workers are significantly more likely to have COVID-19 compared to the general population (2). Fortunately, we now have several vaccines that both protect us and the patients in our care.

Whilst I think it would be very difficult to force healthcare workers to be vaccinated, however further targeted testing could be bought in to make sure the unvaccinated workers are not passing on the virus to the vulnerable patients they interact with. This would be in line with the policies for other communicable diseases (1)

1. Health clearance for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV: New healthcare workers Available from:

2. Nguyen Let al. Risk of COVID-19 among front-line health-care workers and the general community: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet Public Health. 2020;5(9):e475-e483.

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 April 2021
George R Penty
Medical Student
University of Manchester