Vaccination to be made mandatory for care home staff
The government has published its response to the consultation it carried out into mandatory vaccination for workers in care homes with residents over the age of 65.
The consultation response states that vaccination will become mandatory for all care home staff, volunteers and anyone else entering the care home for work purposes (subject to certain exemptions). This policy will apply to care homes in England which are registered with the Care Quality Commission.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 were published in draft form on 22 June. The Regulations implement mandatory vaccination for staff, volunteers and anyone entering a care home for work purposes and apply to all CQC registered care homes in England.
The new requirement is likely to be law from October/November, subject to Parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16-week grace period. All those covered by the amended Regulations will need to produce evidence of having had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, or evidence that they are exempt from vaccination. Various sets of guidance to help care homes implement this policy will be produced.
It's worth bearing in mind that the policy of mandatory vaccinations for staff in care homes is likely to be rolled out more widely. The government has noted that the responses to the consultation made a case for extending the policy to other settings where people vulnerable to Covid-19 receive care, such as domiciliary care and wider healthcare settings. It therefore intends to launch a further public consultation on whether or not to made the Covid-19 and flu vaccinations a condition of deployment in these settings.
For further information please read our recent bulletin 'Mandatory vaccination: opening Pandora's box'.