COVID vaccines to be mandatory for care home staff

By Laura Sharman | 17 June 2021

The Government has confirmed everyone working in a Care Quality Commission-registered care home in England will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

New legislation will mean that, from October, all staff working in a care home for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption.

The new law will also cover people going into care homes for other work such as hairdressers and tradespeople.

Head of immunisation at Public Health England, Dr Mary Ramsay, said: 'Having a high level of protection in care homes will reduce the risk to this very vulnerable population.'

However, there has been concern that the move will cause people to leave the sector.

General secretary of trade union Unison, Christina McAnea, said: 'The Government's sledgehammer approach now runs the risk that some care staff may simply walk away from an already understaffed, undervalued and underpaid sector.'

The Government will consult later this year on extending the rule to cover other health and social care settings.

Chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, Cllr David Fothergill, said: 'Any targeting of mandatory vaccination should be proportionate and appropriate to specific areas where take-up rates remain lower.

'It is only right that care workers are treated the same as their NHS counterparts and we are pleased that government has listened to our feedback about extending this to the health workforce, as any suggestion of being singled out could have adverse consequences for recruitment and retention of the care workforce.'

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