Published: 05:00, 26 January 2022
| Updated: 14:20, 26 January 2022
New laws to ensure healthcare workers are vaccinated against Covid by April 1 will lead to many leaving Medway Maritime Hospital, according to a senior nurse.
The woman, who has more than 12 years experience working with the NHS, chose not to get jabbed after getting a serious bout of the virus.
She believes antibodies she has built up as a result of getting ill are more effective than having the vaccine.
And she said she is now being threatened with dismissal for refusing to comply with government rules.
She said the process of interviewing employees to find out who's not been jabbed has started at the Gillingham hospital and she believes dismissal notices have already been drawn up.
The mum, who does not wish to be named, described the situation as "no jab, no job blackmail".
She said: "We've gone from being clapped to being sacked."
"I worked all through the pandemic in horrendous unsafe working conditions and covering for those who were off sick.
"Now the pandemic is coming to an end they are bringing this in and now I'm the one losing my job.
"I have looked at the science. The vaccination does not stop you contracting Covid nor does it not prevent transmission.
"Therefore I am no more at risk than my vaccinated colleagues."
She believes there are at least half a dozen doctors at the hospital who have also not been vaccinated who could also face the same dilemma.
The trust would not be drawn on how many staff members were likely to be leaving because of non-vaccination – this will become clearer after February 3.
They also said it was important to make clear the nurse concerned was giving her personal opinion rather than stating all known facts.
NHS Kent and Medway chief nurse Paula Wilkins said: “Vaccination remains the best protection against the Covid virus and the vast majority of NHS staff have already had their second jab.
“The NHS across Kent and Medway continues to support and encourage staff who have not yet been vaccinated to take up the offer of the first and second doses ahead of April 1, when Government regulations come into effect. Where people have not had a vaccination we are having individual discussions about the reasons."
Vaccination has been a condition of deployment in care homes since November 11 last year.
The Care Quality Commission is regulating the new policy.
It said: "We'll take a proportionate approach to ensure the welfare and safety of people using services.
"We'll always consider individual circumstances when we carry out assessments and when we decide if we need to take action."
On Saturday, thousands of NHS workers from across the UK gathered in central London to protest the law.