So vaccines are back in the spotlight. Not only are we in the middle of the Covid booster jab programme for the most vulnerable, we also have the ongoing vaccination of schoolchildren, the mandatory vaccination of care home workers and plans to mandate compulsory vaccinations for frontline health care workers.

There’s just so much to unpick in all that.

For the sake of transparency and in a spirit of full disclosure, I am happy to tell you I had my first two vaccinations as soon as I was eligible and when I passed the 182-day limit for my booster, I took myself off to a walk-in centre to get my antibodies topped up.

Somewhat unusually, my booster was the fifth vaccination I’ve had this year – three Covid jabs, one flu vaccination and a pneumonia jab for good measure.

As you can work out from this, I have absolutely no problem with these, or any other, vaccinations. For the record, if I had school-age children I wouldn’t hesitate to have them vaccinated as well.

Frankly, I just can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t take the opportunity to protect themselves, their loved ones, the vulnerable, and society as a whole.

But what do we do about those who decline to be jabbed?

So called vaccine passports could be one solution. My understanding is they have worked well in some European countries, coupled with compulsory mask wearing in certain public settings, some social distancing, and a high rate of vaccination.

Or how about going down the Austrian route? Earlier this week, Austria has placed millions of people who are not fully vaccinated against coronavirus in lockdown in an effort to deal with a surge in infections.

Around 65 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 – one of the lowest rates in western Europe – which chancellor Alexander Schallenberg described as ‘shamefully low’.

Unvaccinated people will only be able to leave home for a limited number of reasons, such as working or buying food. The unvaccinated were already barred from restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas but were told to stay at home to reduce contacts between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

It would appear the Austrian government really isn’t messing about, despite the fact the new restrictions will affect two million people. Police will carry out spot checks in public spaces to determine vaccination status and those found to be breaking the rules will be fined €500 (£425).

Then we come to the thorny subject of mandatory vaccination of NHS staff. I’m really torn on this one. I’d like to think that if I needed to see my doctor or, heaven forbid, ended up in hospital that those members of staff I came into contact with had been double jabbed (and boosted as well if they qualify).

But there is a significant percentage of healthcare workers who have declined, for whatever reason, to be vaccinated.

I think, however, I’m on the side of Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury. He told the Guardian he disagrees with the decision to mandate Covid jabs for NHS staff, saying: “I disagree with Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to introduce mandatory Covid jabs for NHS staff in England.

“I’m double vaccinated and I trust the science but I’m against the compulsory vaccination of the population at large and our hardworking health and care staff.

“The British way is to educate and persuade people so they make the choice to have the vaccine for the good of their own health. Indeed, the vast majority have chosen to do so.

“The danger with a heavy-handed approach is that you lose staff when the NHS is already overstretched.”

Good points well made, Mr Amesbury, and that viewpoint is in line with the stance taken by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The RCN has advised all its members to take up the offer of vaccination but added: “The RCN has significant concerns that mandating vaccines will further marginalise those who are currently vaccine hesitant and put further pressure on a hugely depleted workforce by forcing people out of employment.

“Evidence is already emerging of unvaccinated staff being put at risk of redundancy in care settings following recent changes to the legislation.”

With around 1,000 people a week dying of Covid and many more ending up in hospital – and in ICU beds – just about the last thing we need is fewer health care professionals.