Government releases official response to the consultation on compulsory vaccination in care

Please Note: All information correct at time of writing on 17 June 2021. We do our very best to make sure our information is as up to date as possible, but we’d encourage you to check the relevant government website for updates as they happen.

Last night (16 June 2021) the government published their official response to the compulsory vaccination in care consultation. Although their intention to proceed with this proposal was widely reported yesterday and we are still waiting to see the new regulations, the response provides further clarity on what the rules will look like.

It’s interesting to note that of more than 13,500 responses received, the majority (57%) did not support the proposal.

The key points to note from the response are as follows:

  • The consultation had proposed extending compulsory vaccination to settings with at least one resident over the age of 65 but responses showed that this would be challenging as a birthday or death could move the setting in or out of scope of the rules (and could lead to residents being moved to avoid triggering the rules). The government has therefore decided that the regulations will cover “all CQC-regulated service providers of nursing and personal care, in care homes in England”.
  • There was also support for extending the scope of the rules beyond paid staff deployed in the care home and volunteers deployed to carry out regulated activities. Responses revealed significant support for broadening the policy to include all those coming into close contact with residents or all those entering care homes, in any capacity, and this wider approach has been adopted by the government.
  • Under the new rules, care home service providers will be required to “allow entry to the premises only to those who can demonstrate evidence of having had a complete course of an authorised COVID-19 vaccine (or evidence that they are exempt from vaccination)”. This requirement will only apply indoors.
  • This broader scope will apply to any professionals visiting a care home indoors, such as healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors.
  • It will not include:
    • those who are medically exempt
    • residents
    • friends or relatives of residents who are visiting the home
    • persons providing emergency assistance or urgent maintenance work in the care home
    • those under the age of 18
  • The government is exploring the use of the NHS App and its web-based or non-digital alternatives, to evidence vaccination or exemption status.
  • In terms of medical exemptions, the original proposal stated that the rules would not apply to individuals who have an allergy or condition that the Green Book lists as a reason not to administer a COVID vaccine. The government will publish further detailed guidance on the scope and process for granting exemptions shortly but has indicated that this will continue to be led by the Green Book.
  • The government has announced its intention to launch a further consultation on the application of compulsory vaccination across the wider health and social care settings.

We’ll be sending out further updates when we have sight of the new regulations and a date for implementation of the new rules.

And remember, if you have any questions about how this might affect your care service, you can call our expert advice line 24/7 on 0345 844 4848.

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