Health secretary Sajid Javid is facing legal action over the introduction of mandatory vaccine policies for care workers, which claimants describe as an “unlawful and unnecessary restriction”.

Under regulations set out by an amendment to The Health and Social Care Act 2008 the public will be prevented from entering a care home after 11 November unless they have received two doses of the Janssen, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines.

Two care workers are seeking a Judicial Review, which is crowdfunded and funded by campaigner, Simon Dolan. One of the workers, Julie Peters, is a care home programme director from Poole in a resident-facing role; the other is Nicola Findley, a full-time care home support worker from Wolverhampton, who is predominantly office-based and is infrequently required to visit care homes.

Peters believes she should have freedom of choice over medical interventions, while Findley is concerned about side-effects related to the vaccine and whether the government’s advice can be trusted. 

The judicial review is being brought under five grounds:

  • That the regulations are incompatible with laws prohibiting the enforcement of mandatory vaccines
  • That the health secretary failed to consider the efficacy of alternatives to mandatory vaccination and did not consider the vaccination rate of care homes and/or persons with natural immunity
  • That the regulations interfere with the public’s right to ‘bodily integrity’ and is severe, unnecessary, and disproportionate
  • That the regulations will disproportionately impact women and those who identify as black/Caribbean/black British, in contravention of Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • That the regulations are irrational and will lead to shortages in both front-line and non-front line care workers.

The claimants are seeking a quashing order to render the mandatory vaccination requirements null and void alongside a declaration from Javid that he has violated articles 8 and 14 of the EHCR and that the regulations are unlawful.

Dolan said: “This case has far-reaching and incredibly important implications for freedom of choice in this country. It should not be the case that the government can intervene into the lives of the general public and dictate what medical procedures they do or do not have.”

“This case is underpinned by the notion of freedom of choice, every member of society should be able to have control of what medical procedures they do or do not have. This judicial review, if successful will protect the livelihoods and freedoms of up to 70,000 care workers across the UK.”

Stephen Jackson, the founder of Law or Fiction website and solicitor for the care workers, said: “The courts have long described the relationship of employer and employee as that of master and servant. These regulations attempt to legitimise a system of coercion and to set us back centuries to a time when the master had effective ownership and control over the servant’s body. The regulations are not only medieval in their purpose and determination to ignore the science which has now shown them to be pointless, but they discriminate against black and ethnic minority workers who make up a significant portion of the low-paid carers and support staff who have worked tirelessly, not only over the last 18 months but for many years.” 

Date published: September 15, 2021

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