Coronavirus vaccines could be mandatory for NHS staff under plans being considered by ministers.
The Government has already consulted on whether to make jabs compulsory for social care workers and ministers are now weighing up whether to do the same for medics.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said it was important to examine how to protect the most vulnerable from the risk of contracting Covid-19.
However, a senior Labour frontbencher warned that “threatening” NHS staff would be less effective than working with those who had doubts about the jab.
Mr Zahawi told Sky News: “It’s absolutely the right thing and it would be incumbent on any responsible government to have the debate, to do the thinking as to how we go about protecting the most vulnerable by making sure that those who look after them are vaccinated.”
He said there was a precedent because surgeons get vaccinated for hepatitis B “so it’s something that we are absolutely thinking about”.
Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said: “Given we have got a recruitment crisis in parts of the NHS, I think it’s far more important we try and work with staff rather than against them.
“Threatening staff, I don’t think is a good idea.”
Public Health England and the NHS had been successful when they had worked with people to address their doubts and answer questions about the jab, she said.
“I would like to see the Government work with the NHS and social care staff.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub