What do we already know?
We updated you in our July 2021 Newsletter Government reforms (2): Coronavirus (Covid-19): Mandatory vaccinations for care home staff that the Government announced that from October 2021 anyone working in a registered care home providing nursing or personal care would need to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated with both doses by 11 November 2021 (unless exempt under regulations).
We also updated you in our December 2021 Newsletter Government reforms (4): Compulsory vaccinations – Healthcare that the Government also intended to roll-out the compulsory vaccination to anyone working in health and social care services who interacts with patients and service users. This legislation was due to come into force on 1 April 2022.
The Government plans to scrap all compulsory vaccinations, in both care home and health and social care settings. Sajid Javid, Health and Social Care Secretary, said he believes that the position has now changed with the omicron variant proving to be milder than previous versions of the virus. No doubt the shortage of workers in health and social care was also a consideration, with the U-turn preceded by warnings of shortages of up to 80,000 workers in the sector.
The Government’s consultation on its plans to cancel the regulations closed on 16 February 2022 (see consultation here) and, subject to the responses, the Government will reverse the regulations in the near future. The Government also consulted on its alternative proposals which were based on its view that vaccines save lives and that everyone working in health and social care has a professional duty to be vaccinated against COVID-19.