A care worker who turned down the covid jab says he would be “left with nothing” if he is fired over his refusal to get vaccinated.
Nurse associate Matt Weir, who has worked for the NHS for 12 years, is set to lose his position within weeks over his decision not to get the coronavirus vaccination, Birmingham Live reports.
The 30-year-old, from Perry Barr, is part of a team that provides community care to patients in their homes around Birmingham.
However, because of his stance on the Covid-19 jab, he faces being sacked by the health service – to which he has devoted almost half his life – and left unemployed.
Mr Weir is among thousands of NHS workers across the West Midlands facing the sack because they have not been vaccinated.
Frontline staff have until April to ensure they are double jabbed, under controversial Government measures aimed at protecting the most vulnerable from coronavirus.
It means the deadline from those who have not received their first jab, like Mr Weir, is next week.
And the carer, who has also worked at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and as a mental healthcare assistant, said he would be left heartbroken at having to leave the profession he loves.
“I’ve got nobody else,” he told Birmingham Live. “I’m an independent adult living alone. I’ve bills to pay, I’ve nothing to fall back on.
“To me, it’s massive. The NHS is all I know. I’ve devoted half my life to it.”
Ministers are coming under pressure to push back the deadline or scrap the decision completely, with the Royal College of Nursing fearing the loss of thousands of workers will only add to “chronic staffing shortages” in the NHS.
Between 85 and 90 per cent of NHS workers in the West Midlands are understood to have been vaccinated and that total has barely increased over recent weeks despite efforts by bosses.
Dozens joined a rally in Birmingham at the weekend pleading to keep their jobs.
Mr Weir insisted he was not anti-vax but had reservations about the coronavirus jab. He has allergies and is wary of any potential risks to his health.
But an attempt to secure an exemption from his GP on medical grounds, allowing him to keep his job, failed.
He said: “I have allergies that developed two or three years ago and no-one can tell me what’s causing them. For that reason I’m a bit dubious. And as time has gone on, I don’t feel like I need to have it.
“I have tested positive twice and I’m willing to go on with my natural antibodies and take risks.
“I’m not anti-vax, I’m pro-vax but on this there’s no choice. Consent seems to be going out the window. It doesn’t seem right at all.”
Pressed on the need for the most vulnerable to be protected, Mr Weir countered: “I wear appropriate PPE. No treatment is forced, it’s all on a consensual basis. If they have been vaccinated fully they should be protected.”
Mr Weir said he would be devastated to lose his job of more than a decade and was remaining hopeful the Government may bow to pressure and ditch the policy.
He said he believed ministers had overreached in taking away workers’ choice over their bodies.
He said: “I remain hopeful. There have been protests and debates in Parliament. I’m just taking it day by day.”
Asked with the looming threat of losing his job would convince him to change his mind, he replied defiantly: “No. It’s a principle. I just won’t and can’t.”
A number of senior officials have called on all healthcare workers to have a vaccine to protect themselves and others.
Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director of primary care for NHS England, said healthcare professionals had “a duty” to make sure they were protected.
The Department for Health and Social Care said there were no plans to delay the deadline and it was “the right thing to do to protect patients.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.