NHS staff will need to get the jab or risk losing their job after the government announced Covid-19 jabs would be compulsory for NHS England workers.
The figure is a government estimate of how many staff in the health service will remain unvaccinated after the grace period ends on April 1 2022.
Exemptions will be given to those who do not have face to face contact with patients and those who are medically exempt.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs the decision to make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory for NHS staff in England does not mean the government is not sensitive to concerns about “workforce pressures” this winter.
But the government has conceded that the policy could have a “significant impact” on the health and care workforce.
An impact report by the government warns that any reduction in the workforce “may lead to reduced or delayed services”, with the NHS already facing a record backlog of care and grappling with high vacancy rates.
Estimates included in the document suggest that around 54,000 unvaccinated staff will take up the offer of a jab as a result of the policy.
Mr Javid told MPs the take-up throughout the NHS in England is 93% for the first dose and 90% of have had both doses. He also said it would cost £270m to replace any lost staff.
Mr Javid said due to the impact on the workforce the new rule would not come “until 12 weeks after parliamentary approval, allowing time for remaining colleagues to make the positive choice to protect themselves of those around them, and time for workforce planning.”
“Allow me to be clear that no one in the NHS or care that is currently unvaccinated should be scapegoated, singled out or shamed. That would be totally unacceptable,” the health secretary added.