Unjabbed ICU doctor who challenged Sajid Javid over compulsory vaccines for NHS staff insists he’s NOT anti-vaxx because he’s seen the ‘great benefit’ from jabs with ‘huge reduction’ of seriously-ill Covid patients in hospital
- Dr Steve James works as a consultant anaesthetist at King’s College Hospital
- He said: ‘I’m not anti-surgery, but it doesn’t mean surgery is what I need to have’
- But Dr Hilary Jones said it is ‘unethical’ for unjabbed doctor to put patients at risk
- Comments follow Dr James telling Sajid Javid about his refusal to be vaccinated
An unjabbed ICU doctor who challenged Sajid Javid over compulsory vaccines for NHS staff has insisted he is not an anti-vaxxer because he has seen the ‘great benefits’ from jabs with a ‘huge reduction’ of seriously-ill Covid patients in hospital.
Dr Steve James, who works at King’s College Hospital in London, claimed there is a difference between his ‘own personal opinion’ on why he shouldn’t have the vaccine and whether jabs are ‘good in general’.
He added: ‘So as a doctor I’m not anti-surgery, but it doesn’t mean that surgery is what I need to have.’
But TV medical expert Dr Hilary Jones slammed his viewpoint, saying it is ‘unethical’ for a doctor to refuse the jab and put vulnerable patients at risk.
The comments follow Dr James, a consultant anaesthetist, telling the Health Secretary about his refusal to be vaccinated despite working in intensive care since the start of the pandemic.
Footage from earlier this month shows the doctor telling Mr Javid that he is not jabbed and does not want to be, adding: ‘And for that, I would be dismissed if I don’t have a vaccine? The science isn’t strong enough.’
Dr Steve James, a consultant anaesthetist, earlier told Sajid Javid (both pictured) about his refusal to be vaccinated despite working in intensive care since the start of the pandemic
The consultant anaesthetist (pictured above) who works at King’s College Hospital in London, claimed there is a difference between his ‘own personal opinion’ on why he shouldn’t have the vaccine and whether jabs are ‘good in general’
Speaking today, Dr James told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I’m not anti-vax because I’ve seen a great, great benefit from vaccines.
‘There’s been a huge reduction in the number of seriously ill patients that have come into hospital and vaccination has almost certainly made the largest contribution to that.’
Referring to his comments to Mr Javid, he said: ‘There’s a difference between me giving my own personal opinion about why I wouldn’t have the vaccine and whether vaccines in general are good.
‘So as a doctor I’m not anti-surgery, but it doesn’t mean that surgery is what I need to have. So as a population it would be good to offer certain treatments, it doesn’t mean that everybody needs to have those treatments.’
And on why he hasn’t been vaccinated, the ICU doctor added: ‘Personally I’m a fit and well man, I’m not elderly, I was exposed to Covid on multiple occasions in the hospital setting and I wasn’t getting sick.
‘I thought well the vaccines are out there now, they’ll go to the elderly and the vulnerable, and I was surprised to see that there wasn’t a point where instead of saying instead of offering it to everyone, we’re going to start offering it to people in a more nuanced way.’
However, Dr Jones disagreed with the medic’s views and pointed out that the ‘vast majority of doctors and scientists think the science is strong enough to support vaccination and mandatory vaccination for NHS staff in contact with patients’.
He said: ‘By his own admission he’s got antibodies, so at some point he’s been in contact with coronavirus and has been capable of transmitting coronavirus to the sickest patients in society in intensive and critical care.
TV medical expert Dr Hilary Jones slammed the ICU doctor’s viewpoint, saying it is ‘unethical’ for a medic to refuse the jab and put vulnerable patients at risk
The Health Secretary politely expressed his disagreement and urged the public to get boosted during his visit. Above: Mr Javid with Dr James and another medic during his tour of Kings College Hospital
‘Having not been vaccinated, he is likely to have a higher viral load when he’s been infectious, and to carry that virus for longer.
‘All the science shows that transmission in an unvaccinated person is likely to carry on for longer than it would in a vaccinated person.’
Dr Hilary added: ‘He talks about the risk to himself, there is an ethical duty for doctors under the GMC regulations in communicable diseases to immunise yourself to protect the risk to your patients and clearly that isn’t happening here.’
In a video previously released by Sky News, Dr James told Mr Javid: ‘I had Covid at some point, I’ve got antibodies, and I’ve been working on Covid ICU since the beginning.
‘I have not had a vaccination, I do not want to have a vaccination. The vaccines are reducing transmission only for about eight weeks for Delta, with Omicron it’s probably less.
‘And for that, I would be dismissed if I don’t have a vaccine? The science isn’t strong enough.’
The Health Secretary politely expressed his disagreement and urged the public to get boosted during his visit.
He said: ‘I respect that, but there’s also many different views. I understand it, and obviously we have to weigh all that up for both health and social care, and there will always be a debate about it.’
But he took a parting swipe at the doctor, saying the government were taking advice ‘from people who are actually experts’.
The latest comments follow daily Covid cases falling by nearly 45 per cent in a week yesterday in the biggest drop since Omicron took off — as an expert claimed the UK would be the first country in the northern hemisphere to tame the pandemic.
There were 120,821 new positive tests logged across the country over the past 24 hours, according to Government dashboard data, down from the pandemic high of 218,000 last Tuesday.
Another 379 Covid deaths were also registered across the UK yesterday, up more than seven times on the low figure of 48 last week.
Deaths are always artificially higher on Tuesdays due to reporting lags at the weekend but last week’s toll was also affected by the Bank Holiday.
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