Boosters for healthcare workers must be given green light

01 November 2021

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has reiterated his call for frontline healthcare workers to receive booster jabs as soon as possible. Pointing to the rising hospitalisations of Covid cases, Deputy Smith said the longer we leave the booster campaign, the more challenging it will be as we could likely lose vaccinators to other employment.

Deputy Smith said:

“I believe it would be unconscionable for NIAC not to recommend the booster jab for all frontline healthcare workers as soon as possible. With 3,500 healthcare workers currently out sick, there can be no further delay. The level of hospitalisations relating to Covid has increased over the past number of weeks, so the prudent and careful thing to do is to give our healthcare workers the best possible protection as we face into an uncertain winter.

“This should be done quickly. While we have the capacity and infrastructure in place to roll this out, we don’t have a static Covid vaccination army waiting in suspended animation for this to happen. Every day that we wait to make a decision on boosters, there is an increased likelihood of vaccination workers moving to more permanent employment. The longer we leave it, the less efficient the booster programme will be.

“I joined the health unions in calling for this protection for our frontline workers a number of weeks ago. We’re at a critical juncture with Covid and the sensible thing to do is provide an additional layer of protection to hospitals and healthcare workers. This is a critical time for our hospitals and our frontline workers. They are exhausted and all analysis shows that the mental wellbeing of frontline workers was impacted as a result of the pandemic. They must have the best possible protection as they face another uncertain winter of fighting against the virus.

“We must begin the booster process for frontline healthcare workers as soon as possible. We need to use every tool in our armoury to keep the virus at bay and ensure that hospitals can cope with additional demands this winter and indeed beyond.”

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