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14 April, 2021 Open access

Government launches consultation on making Covid vaccination a condition of work for some care home staff

Evidence sought on how the change for care homes with older adult residents in England could be implemented and whether respondents think it would be beneficial

The government has launched a consultation on making Covid-19 vaccination a condition of work for some care home staff in England.

Highlighting that nearly half of all care homes with older adult residents don’t currently meet SAGE's recommended vaccination thresholds for care homes and staff - with the staff vaccination rate below 80 per cent in 89 local authority areas and all 32 London boroughs, and below 70 per cent in 27 local authority areas - Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said -

'Making vaccines a condition of deployment is something many care homes have called for, to help them provide greater protection for staff and residents in older people’s care homes and so save lives.

... We have a duty of care to those most vulnerable to COVID-19, so it is right we consider all options to keep people safe.'

Launching the consultation on the change - that would result in amendment of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 - the government said -

'A 5-week consultation will look at requiring care home providers, caring for older adults, to deploy only those workers who have received their Covid-19 vaccination ...

With some providers already implementing similar policies, the consultation will help inform decision-making around how the change could be implemented and whether respondents think it will be beneficial.

The consultation will seek views on the proposal, it’s scope, any potential impact it could have on staffing and safety as well as how it is implemented and who could be exempt.'

While the government say that any requirement will not include those who can provide evidence of a medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination, it could include -

In addition, the government says that it is also consulting on whether the policy should be extended to include other professionals who visit the care home (for example NHS workers providing close personal care to people living in the care home, hairdressers or visiting faith leaders), and that it will keep the policy under review on a continuing basis and consider whether, in due course, it is necessary to extend it to other parts of the adult social care and health sectors.

The consultation, Making vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes, will run to 21 May 2021

For more information, see Consultation launched on staff COVID-19 vaccines in care homes with older adult residents from gov.uk