Consultation issued on mandatory vaccination for all frontline workers in health and social care settings
On 9 September the DHSC issued a consultation (which closes on 22 October) which looks at whether mandatory vaccination should be required of all those in contact with patients and people receiving care, except those medically exempt.
The consultation proposes that mandatory vaccination is extended to all that conduct a CQC activity. The remit of CQC regulated activities is extensive, and as well as covering health and social care settings, includes circumstances such as the management of supply of blood and blood-derived products, services in slimming clinics and family planning services.
The consultation also seeks views on whether flu vaccines should be a requirement for health and care workers. The government's introduction to the consultation states that recent research has shown that people infected with both flu and Covid-19 are more than twice as likely to die as someone with Covid-19 alone, and nearly six times more likely than those with neither flu nor Covid-19. This is the rationale for considering both vaccines within the consultation.
Meanwhile, in the context of mandatory vaccination, it's worth noting that on 9 September judicial review proceedings were issued challenging the mandatory vaccination requirement for care workers (introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021) on five grounds. It is argued that the Regulations are incompatible with laws prohibiting the enforcement of mandatory vaccines; interfere with the public's right to "bodily integrity" and are severe, unnecessary and disproportionate; will disproportionately impact women and those who identify as Black/Caribbean/Black British, in contravention of Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human rights; and are irrational and will lead to shortages in both frontline and non-frontline care workers. It is also argued that the Health Secretary failed to consider the efficacy of alternatives to mandatory vaccination and did not consider the vaccination rate of care homes or the impact of natural immunity.
For further details on the content of the consultation and the potential implications of an extension of the mandatory vaccination requirement please refer to our bulletin: Mandatory vaccination rolled out?.