Consultation launched on making COVID and flu vaccination mandatory in the health and wider social care sectors

Last week, on Thursday 9 September, the Department of Health and Social Care launched a six-week consultation on whether or not to extend the mandatory COVID vaccination requirements (which will apply in adult care home settings in England from 11 November) to other health and social care settings. This consultation will also cover whether these requirements should also extend to flu vaccinations (this would include in care home settings).

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.

The consultation also covers some potential changes to the rules regarding compulsory vaccination in care home settings. At this stage, the key points to note are:

  • The consultation proposes that the requirements would apply to frontline health and care workers, “those with face-to-face contact with patients and clients through the delivery of services as part of a CQC regulated activity”, meaning that only those workers that are vaccinated could be deployed to deliver those services (unless they were medically exempt). This would include dental practices, GP practices, domiciliary care and pharmacists working in hospitals and General Practice.
  • The consultation seeks views on whether this should also apply to those under 18, including amending the care home regulations (under which those who are under 18 are currently exempt) to ensure a consistent approach across the health and social care sector.
  • The consultation document makes it clear that the government is carefully considering the best way for people to prove that they have been vaccinated to the registered person, adding, “lessons learned from the implementation of the COVID-19 care home regulations will help inform the implementation in other health and social care settings.”
  • The consultation asks for views on what would be an appropriate grace period
  • The government is expecting final Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice on any booster programme shortly and has stated that when this is available, the government will consider the inclusion of any booster dose into the requirement to be fully vaccinated.

Remember, if you have any questions about how this consultation might affect your business, you can call our 24/7 advice line on 0345 844 4848.

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