We now have confirmation that new legislation is planned requiring staff working in CQC registered care homes in England to have two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, unless they have a medical exemption.
From October 2021 all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), including those employed by an agency and volunteers will need to have received two doses of the vaccines.
The new regulations will apply to those people coming into care homes to work, for example: healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors. It will also be extended to other settings where people vulnerable to Covid-19 receive care, such as domiciliary care and wider healthcare settings.
There will be a number of exemptions to the new rules, with under 18s, emergency services or people carrying out urgent maintenance work, residents of the care homes and friends and family of residents who are visiting a care home. The requirement to be vaccinated will not apply to people who only work in the outdoor surrounding grounds of care home premises.
There will also be medical exemptions for those individuals who suffer from an allergy or condition that the Green Book lists: (COVID-19: the green book, chapter 14a). The Government will publish further information on this in due course.
The announcement on 16 June 2021 also confirmed that the Government will launch a further consultation “in due course” on whether to extend this new requirement to other health and social care settings and will also consider inclusion of the flu vaccine.
New regulations will be laid before Parliament, and if approved by Parliament, there will be a 16-week grace period from when the regulations are made to when they come into force to enable staff who haven’t been vaccinated to take up the vaccine. In its press release, the Government explained that the majority of adult social care staff will be eligible for their second dose eight weeks after their first.
We will provide an update when the regulations are published.