Care home workers: mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations not required from 15th March
Mandatory vaccinations became a requirement to work in a care home from 11 November 2021. This was due to be extended to all patient-facing staff in the health and social care sector on 1 April 2022.
On 31 January 2022, the Government announced that a public consultation would be launched on whether to revoke mandatory vaccinations care home for health and social care staff. The consultation response was published on 1 March 2022.
As a result of the consultation, regulations came into force on 15 March 2022 revoking the requirement for vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and social care settings.
This means that care home staff will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (or provide proof of medical exemption) to enter care homes, and the extension to all staff in the health and social care sector not take place.
While this is good news for the health and social care sector, there is still the possibility that mandatory vaccinations may be re-introduced in the future. The consultation report emphasised the importance of vaccinations,
“While the government’s intention is to revoke the vaccination as condition of deployment requirements in the regulations, the importance of vaccination remains clear: vaccines save lives, and everyone working in health and social care has a professional duty to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”
The government will continue to keep guidance and their position regarding mandatory vaccines under review.
Care homes and those who were due to be affected in the health and social care sector from 1 April 2022 will now need to:
- Review and update policies. This should be done in consultation with staff. Regardless of the U-turn in relation to vaccinations, it is still important for all employers to be aware that they have a duty to protect the health and safety of employees. As a result, employers are urged to carry out risk assessments and it is still likely that those providing health and social care will have a policy that recommends vaccination;
- Update contracts that had been changed to refer to mandatory vaccination;
- Consider any cases of employees who are in notice or have been dismissed due to not being vaccinated. Employers should review these decisions against the change in regulation, and their updated policies;
- Keep health and safety risk assessments and policies under review.
- can now discuss with their workforce the outcome of the consultation and confirm that vaccine status is no longer a requirement for their continued employment.
Key dates: a brief overview of mandatory vaccines in the health and social care sector
16 June 2021: government announced new law being introduced that will require everyone working in care homes to be fully vaccinated.
22 July 2021: regulations were passed requiring mandatory vaccines for care home staff, due to come into force on 11 November 2021. All staff must be fully vaccinated or provide evidence of medical exemption to enter the care home from 11 November 2021.
15 September 2021: temporary self-certification process introduced for those care home staff who believe they will be medically exempt. Exemption due to expire on 24 December 2021.
11 November 2021: became mandatory for anyone who needed to enter the building to work in a care home to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (or provide evidence of medical exemption.
8 December 2021: extension announced to self-certification for medical exemption, which could be used until 31 March 2022.
31 January 2022: public consultation launched on whether mandatory vaccinations should be revoked.
1 March 2022: consultation response published.
15 March 2022: mandatory vaccination requirement revoked from today.
Deadlines no longer applicable following announcement on 15th March 2022:
31 March 2022: self-certification due to expire; evidence of formal medical exemption or full vaccination required from 1 April 2022.
1 April 2022: new regulations due to come into force where all health and social care staff would be need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (or provide a formal medical exemption) to continue working in their roles.
If you have any concerns regarding your staff or questions regarding mandatory vaccines, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Employment Lawyers on 01202 525333 for further advice.
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