It was announced on 22nd July 2021 that employees working in care homes in England will be required to have both COVID-19 vaccinations to carry out their roles.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 was legislation passed that enforces this new requirement to but grants exceptions to those with medical exemptions.
Care workers in England will be required from 11th November 2021 to have both COVID-19 vaccinations, with 16th September 2021 being the last date for care workers to get their first vaccine. This allows care workers to have received both vaccinations by the time the legislation comes into effect.
What does this mean for care homes and care workers?
Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) Social Care Working Group say that vaccination of those living and working in care homes is the best intervention for a disease that responds well to immunisation. Despite the government, NHS, and local authorities’ rapid vaccination roll-out, all healthcare and care home workers have not yet received a level of protection needed to curb another outbreak.
Care home providers must ensure the only unvaccinated people to enter the home are:
- a care home resident,
- friend or relative,
- emergency services provider,
- child under 18.
Both part-time and full-time employees of CQC care homes in England will be required to provide evidence of receiving both vaccines before 11th November (unless exempt) to continue working in that setting. Religious and philosophical beliefs do not count under the exemption guidelines.
Between 3-12% of care home employees are likely to be unable to work in care homes over the next 16 weeks because they are unvaccinated. If you are a care home provider, you will need to prepare for this change and potential reduced staff levels.
As an employer, what do I need to do?
Employers need to prepare for the changes, to avoid disruption to service and care and ensure that they meet their legal duties when caring for their residents. We recommend you:
- Assess COVID-19 vaccination uptake amongst your employees who deliver nursing or personal care.
- Inform, engage, and consult with staff to encourage voluntary vaccination during this grace period.
- Update policies and other key documentation such as legal documents, recruitment documents and contracts of employment; as appropriate.
- Consider the data protection / GDPR considerations of processing special category health data of staff.
- Research and prepare for staff shortages or replacement care workers
If you have any questions about mandatory COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace, or any other topics discussed in this blog, then please contact us today on 0845 262 6260 to speak to one of our HR or Health and Safety experts.