Decision made to scrap mandatory vaccination
It was only last week we had our Trowers Tuesday session on mandatory vaccination and its forthcoming extension to the health and social care sectors.
Now, following an announcement on 31 January from the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, the plan is to scrap mandatory vaccination across all settings (including care homes who have had to institute this policy since 11 November last year). A consultation on ending vaccination as a condition of deployment (in relation both to care homes and the health and social care sector) will be launched prior to the Regulations being revoked, but will essentially just be a formality. The consultation (which has to take place for statutory reasons) will last for two weeks. In the meantime there will be no further enforcement of the Regulations.
The Health Secretary stated that when the Regulations relating to the health and social care sectors were laid before Parliament in November, the Delta variant of Covid-19 represented 99% of infections. As Omicron has since become the dominant infection the Health Secretary stated that it is right to review the policy to ensure that it is proportionate and balanced. He also stated that, if we see another dramatic change in the virus, the policy could be reviewed again.
Those care workers who left the sector will now be free to reapply for their jobs (assuming vacancies still exist). However, the Health Secretary has made it clear that the mandatory vaccination policy was right at the time for those care home workers who left their job rather than getting vaccinated.