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Mandatory vaccinations for staff visiting care homes to come into force in November

by Beth Gault
4 August 2021

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The change of law requiring anyone visiting a care home to have had an ‘authorised course’ of Covid vaccine will come into force on 11 November.  

The last date for care home workers to get their first dose to be fully vaccinated ahead of the change will be 16 September.  

It comes after MPs supported the change last month (July) in the House of Commons, despite not seeing key documents about the impact of the change.  

The Department of Health and Social Care has also confirmed it will launch a further consultation to extend the regulation to other healthcare staff.  

The new guidance, published today (4 August), said the registered manager of the care home will be responsible for ensuring those who enter are vaccinated.  

However, the CQC will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the rule on mandatory vaccination.  

There are exemptions to the regulation, including those who are under 18 and those who are medically exempt from getting the vaccine.  

Those who enter to provide emergency assistance or urgent maintenance can also be allowed in without the jab, but the guidance said this decision was up to the registered manager of the care home to make.  

However, lack of vaccination is a reason for fair dismissal, the document confirmed.  

It said: ‘Where a member of staff is not vaccinated and cannot provide evidence that they are exempt, care homes should explore all options. This includes redeployment into any alternative role where vaccination or medical exemption is not required. This could include roles without direct contact with residents outside of the care home (for example at a head office). 

‘Some care homes – having exhausted alternative options – may have to consider dismissing employees or terminating contracts of workers. This should only apply to those over 18 who are not vaccinated and have not obtained a medical exemption. Where this is the case, care homes must comply, at all times, with employment and equalities law and adhere to good employment practice.’ 

It comes after the DHSC’s assessment on the policy found that there was a ‘significant degree of uncertainty’ about the impact mandatory vaccinations would have.