A GP has been accused of undermining the coronavirus vaccine programme after publicising her decision not to have the jab.
Clare Jones’s practice in Hereford carries a message for its 9,000 patients about vaccination arrangements. But the partner at Wargrave House Surgery says she will not be among those attending a community hall for the Covid jab.
In a letter to the city’s MP Jesse Norman, whose wife Kate Bingham played a crucial role in securing millions of doses for the UK as vaccine tsar, Dr Jones railed against suggestions that medics could be disciplined for refusing to have the jab.
A GP has been accused of undermining the coronavirus vaccine programme after publicising her decision not to have the jab (file photo)
She wrote: ‘Having worked tirelessly for the NHS for 31 years as a hospital doctor, A&E doctor and a GP with probably two sick days in my whole career, is the Government really suggesting that because I exert my choice not to have the Covid vaccine, my wealth of medical experience is going to be lost just because I choose to exercise my free will and conscience?’
Joyce Robbins, of the campaign group Patient Concern, accused the GP of being irresponsible. ‘If patients are being asked to have the jab, then GPs should be having it too,’ she said.
‘It is for everyone’s sake. Voices like this could hinder the success of the vaccine rollout and by not having the jab, Dr Jones risks picking up the virus and potentially passing it onto her patients.’
A General Medical Council spokesman said: ‘Doctors should be immunised against common serious communicable diseases unless medically contraindicated.’
Tory MP Paul Bristow, a member of the Commons health and social care committee, described Dr Jones’s position as ‘clearly wrong’.
In a historic intervention, the Queen said last week that those who refuse the vaccine ‘ought to think about other people rather than themselves’.
In a letter to the city’s MP Jesse Norman (pictured above), Dr Jones railed against suggestions that medics could be disciplined for refusing to have the jab
The General Medical Council’s (GMC) guidance states that doctors should be vaccinated against ‘common serious communicable diseases’ unless there was good reason not to.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has also said doctors had a ‘professional duty’ to get a Covid-19 vaccine.
On Monday, new Public Health England data revealed that a single shot of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab reduces the chance of needing hospital treatment by more than 80 per cent.
The analysis of English patients followed similarly ‘spectacular’ results in Scotland.
In a historic intervention, the Queen said last week that those who refuse the vaccine ‘ought to think about other people rather than themselves’
More than 20million people have so far had a first dose in the UK – more than a third of the adult population.
Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said GPs had delivered 75 per cent of the 20million vaccinations carried out in the UK so far.
He added: ‘We would strongly urge all health and care professionals to have the Covid-19 vaccine, unless there is a medical reason why they shouldn’t, and the vast majority have. Healthcare professionals are at high-risk of contracting Covid-19 and getting vaccinated will help protect themselves, their colleagues and their patients.
‘However, we don’t agree with making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory as informed and educated choice about health interventions would be more beneficial long-term than enforcing them, which risks leading to resentment and mistrust.’