Over 80,000 NHS health workers in England have yet to receive even a single dose of a Covid vaccine, FactCheck analysis of NHS data shows.

Of those, just over 52,000 are not thought to have a medical exemption, which means they’re at risk of losing their jobs in April if they don’t get vaccinated in the next fortnight.

That’s roughly 3.5 per cent of all staff who work with patients.

And in some areas it’s even higher. Across trusts in London, our figures suggest 7.6 per cent of staff are entirely unvaccinated and don’t have a valid medical excuse.

In November, the government announced that health workers in England would have to be double-vaccinated by 1 April. To meet that deadline, staff need to have had their first dose by 3 February.

In these final weeks, hospitals are hoping to convince as many employees as they can to get jabbed. Failing that, some staff might be moved into roles that don’t involve contact with patients.

But if no alternative can be found, they face dismissal.

Even before the policy was announced, there were just over 99,000 vacancies in England’s health service.

And with mandatory jabs potentially pushing tens of thousands more staff out of the NHS, the Royal College of Nursing has called on the government to delay the policy’s deadline.

NHS leaders in Scotland and Wales have been spared this particular headache as governments there have decided not to make jabs mandatory. The Northern Ireland executive says it will consult on compulsory vaccines, but only for new recruits.

How we reached the figures

NHS data shows that there are currently 1.48 million health care workers employed by trusts in England. With 1.39 million first doses delivered to staff, that leaves 81,626 completely unvaccinated.

In November, the government estimated that 2 per cent of the total workforce would be eligible for a medical exemption from the vaccine (though it admits that this is hard to determine for certain).

Using that assumption, we estimate that 29,607 staff would have a valid excuse for not getting jabbed.

Taken together, that leaves us with 52,019 NHS workers who – according to the current regulations – should be vaccinated, but are not.

We found that the NHS in London could be hardest hit, with nearly 8 per cent of staff still unvaccinated – followed by the West Midlands (3.3 per cent) and the North West (3.2 per cent).

Our figures tally with the government’s own predictions: in November, the Department of Health said it expected some 56,000 trust workers to be unvaccinated without an excuse by the 1 April deadline.

The Department of Health told FactCheck: “NHS and care staff do amazing work and we are thankful to those who have chosen to get the vaccine”. The spokesperson said the policy is “all about patient safety”.