The Government announced yesterday that all health and social care workers, including volunteers who have face to face contact with service users, will need to provide evidence they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to continue to work in a forward facing health or social care setting from 1st April.
The regulations will apply to health and social care workers, including domiciliary care workers, doctors, nurses and dentists who have direct, face-to-face contact with people while providing care, unless they are exempt.
The regulations will cover the whole CQC-regulated health and social care sector including ancillary staff such as porters or receptionists who may have social contact with patients but are not directly involved in their care.
The measures will help ensure that the most vulnerable patients gain the greatest possible levels of protection as well as protecting workers against COVID-19.
The requirements will come into force in the spring, subject to the passage of the regulations through Parliament. There will be a 12-week grace period between the regulations being made and coming into force to allow those who have not yet been vaccinated to have both doses. Enforcement will begin from 1st April, subject to parliamentary approval.
These regulations follow similar regulations laid in Parliament on 22 June 2021 and were made on 22 July 2021 under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 ('the Regulations') which means that from tomorrow, 11th November 2021, it will become law that anyone entering a care home to work must have had a complete course of an authorised COVID-19 vaccine unless they are under the age of 18 or medically exempt.
Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care Deborah Sturdy said:
“We know that vaccines save lives which is why earlier this year we set out our plans to make vaccines a condition of deployment in care homes to protect those who are more vulnerable to this virus.”
“Today’s announcement to extend these regulations will ensure all those who access regulated social care are afforded maximum protection from COVID-19.”
“I encourage anyone working in social care who has not yet had their vaccine to come forward as soon as possible to protect yourselves, your colleagues and those you care for.”