Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Mandatory covid vaccination for healthcare workers

Mandatory covid-19 vaccination for healthcare workers: vaccinated and unvaccinated people seem as likely to infect others

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 07 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n3027
  1. Stephen Porter, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist
  1. Ilkley, UK
  1. soporter.obsgynae{at}

Sokol’s main argument for mandatory covid-19 vaccination of healthcare workers is that vaccination of patient facing healthcare workers protects patients.1 The author makes this claim based on a health department study from Australia.2

A recent study in Lancet Infectious Diseases suggests, however, that those vaccinated who subsequently become infected are just as likely to infect those around them as unvaccinated people who develop covid.3 This does somewhat weaken the argument for mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers as a means of protecting patients.

The best way to protect patients is for all patient facing healthcare workers to have mandatory weekly testing. Demonstrating a lack of infection will surely provide better patient protection than a passport that indicates vaccination at some point in the past.


  • Competing interests: none declared.

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