The government has now approved legislation that will make it a legal requirement for staff working in care homes to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
It is thought that only those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will be exempt from the requirement. Holding a religious or philosophical belief against the vaccine will not be an acceptable reason for being unvaccinated.
The rationale behind the new rules is intended to ensure care home residents are better protected from the risk of death and serious illness as a result of contracting COVID-19.
The new law will come into force on 11 November 2021 and will only apply to England at this stage.
Between now and then care homes are expected to encourage their staff to get vaccinated and warn them that they will be dismissed if they fail to do so. The delay in the new rules being introduced is also intended to allow sufficient time for care homes to organise replacement staff, although with current staff shortages in the care sector this is easier said than done.
The new rules will also apply to those who are not employed directly by care homes but who enter them to do other work, such as tradespeople, hairdressers and CQC inspectors. However, it will not apply to those visiting residents in care homes, such as friends and family.
The government is considering whether compulsory vaccinations should be brought in for other workers in health and social care settings.
Facebook, Netflix, Google have all recently announced that they will require their US staff to be fully vaccinated before returning to the office, and it is thought likely that an announcement will be made shortly for the same rules will apply to their UK sites.
In this country, Pimlico Plumbers has already confirmed that the company will require all staff to have had the COVID-19 immunisation in order to be able to continue to work for them.
With senior government ministers appearing to support making vaccinations mandatory, many are concerned that this appears to be the start of more widespread ‘No Jab, No Job’ policies becoming mandatory, outside of the care sector.
For further advice on COVID-19 vaccinations at work, please contact us on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.