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The UK's main university application body is still imposing vaccine mandates on students applying for nursing and social care courses as the sector struggles to fill a staff shortage of tens of thousands, a GB News investigation has found.

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) currently says on its website further education candidates must have the Covid jab as part of the entry requirements.

At least ten universities are also imposing the mandate on their web pages where applicants can find more information about the courses.

One even tells students it is "illegal" to not divulge their status.

The Covid mandate for nurses and frontline care workers was dropped by the Government in March following a campaign by GB News.

The investigation by GB News and the Farage programme, which airs Monday to Thursday at 7pm, found would-be students applying via UCAS are greeted with this message: "You should be aware that from 1 April 2022, all NHS and Social Care personnel (including students) will be required to have completed an approved course of vaccinations against Covid-19 before they can be deployed in roles that involve face-to-face contact with patients/service users.

"If you are unable, or unwilling, to be vaccinated at this time, and cannot satisfy our placement providers that you are medically exempt, we will not be able to provide you with the practice placements necessary to complete your health and social care degree. If this is the case, you may wish to look at an alternative programme or career path."

The Government faced criticism earlier this year when it told NHS staff they needed to be double vaccinated by April 1 or face being sacked.

But it was dropped in March following pressure from within the health service which included a legal challenge and GB News' Outdate The Mandate campaign.

In November 2021, the social care sector lost 40,000 as a result of the mandate.

Lawyer Stephen Jackson, who led the Together Association legal challenge to the NHS mandate, said: "As experience of the care home and NHS mandates has shown, coercive and discriminatory vaccination policies do nothing but harm to our health services. Those mandates were withdrawn in March because the government could not justify them. Eight months later, the universities cannot justify similar practices either."

Alan D Miller, Co-Founder of anti-mandate campaign groupTogether Association, said: "For UCAS to insist on covid jab as a condition of entry is unethical, immoral, unscientific & plain wrong.

"The Vaccine mandate was stopped in its tracks though direct campaigning by Together NHS 100k and frontline staff yet UCAS insisting on this for care workers and nursing jeopardises even further the shortfall of care staff: currently 165,000 with 500,000 waiting Care. This impacts the NHS of course with seven million awaiting treatment.

"All universities should remove this imposition immediately. Over 40,000 care workers were lost who had worked bravely throughout the most challenging period. This is a damaging and counterproductive policy which we encourage everyone to challenge. As we continue to campaign at Together for Steve Barclay to Apologise Reinstate Compensate Care Workers, he should also weigh in with regard to UCAS to stop this damaging policy immediately "

Around 1.5 million student use UCAS to apply for university every year.

The body revealed an 8 percent fall in nurse applications in this year's intake, with a 13 percent decrease compared to last year from those above the age of 21.

One of the universities displaying the out-of-date information include University of Hertfordshire which said: "Covid vaccines will be mandatory from the Spring for all healthcare workers."

Liverpool John Moores University states it is "illegal to work in an NHS setting" without confirmation of your Covid vaccination status.

Other institutes that have the mandate include University of Birmingham, University of Chichester, University of Northampton, Middlesex University London, Staffordshire University, University college Birmingham, University Centre Somerset and University of Derby.

The Department of Health and Social Care's impact assessment found that as many as 73,000 NHS staff in England could have lost their jobs as a result of the policy if it had come to fruition.

The King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had predicted that the policy could reduce its workforce by 10 percent, given 14,000 staff remained unvaccinated indicting that vaccine mandate had a direct negative affect on staffing.

With staffing issues already evident in the NHS with charitable healthcare trust Nuffield Trust reporting around 17,000 nursing and midwifery posts (four percent) may be unfilled on a daily basis.

UCAS Chief Operating Officer Sander Kristel said: "Course listing and entry requirements on our website are provided and maintained by the individual universities.

"We will liaise with the universities to ensure information is up to date and accurate."