Mandatory frontline vaccinations: ABDO seeks members’ views

ABDO has invited members to help inform the Association’s response to the government’s recently-launched consultation on proposals for mandating Covid-19 and flu vaccinations for frontline health and social care workers in England.

The consultation was launched on 9 September, and seeks views on making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector within England only. It will close on 22 October.

Debbie McGill, ABDO head of policy and public affairs, said: “We recognise that this is a controversial subject, and our response to the consultation will take into consideration the sensitivities on the ethical side of enforcement, the safety of our eye health care professionals and patients, as well as public health advice/guidance.”

The consultation follows the recent announcement that all health and social care professionals providing services in care/nursing homes must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by 11 November, unless exempt.

“ABDO is continuing to engage with public health officials, throughout the UK, on the Covid-19 vaccine programme,” Debbie continued, “including the booster programme to ensure our members have access to the most up-to-date information and directions from governments.

“On 9 September, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority [MHRA] confirmed that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines could be used as safe and effective booster doses. We will keep members updated on the roll-out of the booster programme as well as the outcome of the mandatory vaccination consultation.”

ABDO welcomes comments on the consultation from members – and is encouraging those who would like to engage, to inform the ABDO response, to email Debbie McGill direct by 11 October to

The Association of Optometrists is also seeking its members’ views on the proposal, insisting that it “must include optometry”.

“During the pandemic our members have shown time and time again the vital role they play providing face-to-face patient care,” said Adam Sampson, AOP chief executive. “As such, any proposal that considers whether frontline staff in health and wider care settings in England should be required to have Covid-19 and flu vaccines must include optometry.”