cover art for Dr Steve James: I’m willing to lose my job over vaccine mandates

UnHerd with Freddie Sayers

Dr Steve James: I’m willing to lose my job over vaccine mandates

Steve James is a critical care consultant at King’s College Hospital in London. When Health Secretary Sajid Javid visited last Friday, he asked the NHS staff about what they thought of the forthcoming mandates that will make Covid vaccination a condition of deployment for NHS staff. Dr James spoke out, saying why he was against the mandate and why he hadn’t taken the vaccine himself.

It made headlines across the UK media, in particular coming from a Cambridge-educated NHS frontline doctor. Dr James came in to the UnHerd studio to explain his position in more detail to Freddie Sayers.

While he does not think of himself as ‘anti-vax’ (he dislikes the label), he argues that there’s nothing wrong with individuals preferring not to take vaccines if they so choose. Nevertheless, he accepts that vaccines have had an important effect on Covid hospitalisation rates. “Undoubtedly the vaccines have made a big difference,” he says.

But he objects to the simplistic messaging around vaccination, saying that because Covid is so much more dangerous to older people and vulnerable groups, the insistence on universal vaccination (including making examples of people who refuse) is inappropriate.

Dr James has had Covid (he doesn’t know when, but tests positive for antibodies). But he admits he hadn’t taken the vaccine even for the period of months before he tested for antibodies, because he preferred to wait a period to fully understand the extent of any side effects.

For more read The Post from UnHerd

More episodes

View all episodes

  • How global government pushes censorship

    Paul Coleman is executive director of Alliance Defending Freedom and has been involved in more than 20 cases before the European Court of Human Rights. He is the author of Censored (2016), about the rise of European hate crime laws. He joins UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers to demystify the inner workings of the international censorship complex.
  • Election deep dive: Europe turns Right

    Is a rightward shift really hitting Europe? Regular UnHerd contributors Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, Thomas Fazi and Ralph Schoellhammer react to the breaking news of the European elections, with Freddie Sayers.
  • Nellie Bowles: Ex-Reporter Exposes New York Times

    When Nellie Bowles got her dream job as a reporter for the New York Times, she thought she'd never leave her job at the legacy paper. But what she witnessed behind the scenes gave her a very personal insight into the political capture of the American newsroom. She tells UnHerd's Freddie Sayers about the disinformation movement, mainstream media bias and finding herself outside the tribe...
  • Richard Dawkins vs Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The God Debate

    At the UnHerd-sponsored Dissident Dialogues Festival in New York, Richard Dawkins and Ayaan Hirsi Ali discussed her recent conversion to Christianity, and whether the whole ‘New Atheism’ movement of which they had both been key members had done more harm than good.
  • Welcome to the UNIPARTY election

    Are the British Conservative and Labour parties really so different? For many voters, it seems, the answer is no. At least on the most important questions of the day, whether it’s immigration, war or culture. With the general election looming, UnHerd columnists Aris Roussinos, Mary Harrington and Tom McTague join Freddie Sayers for a roundtable on election ennui and ask: what are we to do with the uniparty?
  • Peter Singer: How to live a good life

    World-famous utilitarian philosopher and Princeton Professor of Bioethics, Peter Singer, has spent his career asking (and answering) questions that make even the most radical thinkers uncomfortable. He joins UnHerd to discuss his maverick moral calculus and the struggle for telos in a culture both more isolated and more connected than ever before.
  • Fmr Iran Ambassador: "Western idealism has been disastrous"

    With the shocking death of Iran's president, Sir Richard Dalton, former British Ambassador to Iran, joins UnHerd's Freddie Sayers for a conversation on the future of the Middle East, Israel and Western interventionism. 
  • Lee Cain: A Carthaginian defeat is coming

    As news breaks of a British general election, Former Director of Communications at 10 Downing Street Lee Cain and Political Editor of UnHerd Tom McTague join Freddie Sayers for an emergency roundtable. 
  • Glenn Greenwald: Are there limits to free speech?

    Glenn Greenwald joins UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers to explore the nuances of free speech in today’s digital world. They discuss the challenges of protecting minority voices while upholding free expression, the dangers of corporate censorship, and the importance of critical thinking in navigating today’s complex information landscape.