Can front-line health or social care workers in the priority group for vaccination refuse to have the vaccine?
Despite the obvious case for all front-line health and social care workers receiving a vaccination against swine flu, an employer has no right to insist on this. This is the case whether or not there is a contractual right to provide a vaccination. However, where there is a contractual right to vaccinate, an employer can discipline any employee who unreasonably refuses the vaccine. Additionally, given the highly contagious nature of swine flu, an employer is likely to be justified in suspending any employees who refuse the vaccine in order to avoid spreading the virus. Any period of suspension should be on full pay unless there is a clear contractual right that provides otherwise.