Uptake of the Covid vaccine among NHS staff varies widely by region, official figures show.
London has the lowest rate, with one in eight NHS staff unvaccinated, raising fears that making the jabs compulsory could cause a staffing crisis.
He told the Commons that the requirement would be enforced from April 1 next year, if Parliament agrees, to give unvaccinated staff time to get both doses.
He said: “We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and, of course, protect the NHS itself.”
Unison, the union which represents nearly half a million healthcare workers, warned the move could leave the NHS short-staffed.
Head of health Sara Gorton said: “Forcing jabs in care homes has prompted an unprecedented staffing crisis. The Government risks making the same mistake twice.
“Practical alternatives like daily testing used in other countries should have been considered.”
About 103,000 NHS staff were still unvaccinated on October 31, some 7% of the workforce, official figures show.
But uptake varies widely by region, with 12.3% of staff in London unvaccinated compared to just 5.1% in the North East and Yorkshire.
It is not just London’s NHS staff which have a low vaccination rate - the capital also has one of the country’s lowest uptake rates among the public.
According to the Office for National Statistics, reluctance to get vaccinated is more common among young people, those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and those living in disadvantaged areas.
Health bosses have have said this may explain higher vaccine hesitancy in London, with its young and diverse population.
The issue is even starker when looking at individual NHS trusts, raising the prospect that some trusts will be hit far harder than others by the new rules.
Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has the lowest vaccination rate among its staff of any English trust, with 16% of its staff unvaccinated on September 30, the latest date at which trust-level figures were published.
In contrast, just 3% of staff at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust were unvaccinated.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.