COVID vaccines to become mandatory in adult care homes

The government is expected to announce that they will shortly be making COVID vaccination mandatory for everyone working in adult social care. In reports which have been widely discussed in the media the government is expected to make the announcement in the next few days.

Based on the government consultation document the vaccination requirement is likely to apply to any CQC registered care provider with at least one resident over the age of 65. The government is expected to require care providers to ensure that all their workers who are not medically exempt are vaccinated within 16 weeks of the new law coming into effect. Freeths facilitated a round table discussion with our clients in the adult social care sector and contributed to the government consultation on behalf of our clients in the industry. You can see our response to the consultation here.

Our clients shared with us their concerns around the implementation of a mandatory vaccine policy, which range from challenges in recording vaccinations or medical exemption status, to managing staff who are not vaccinated. There are also significant challenges around the impact of the proposals on staffing levels, the ability to provide safe care and the potential discrimination risks.

The government would, however, point out that there are still parts of the country where the percentage of workers in adult social care who have been vaccinated has not reached the 80% considered necessary by the government’s advisers to provide a safe level of care for residents and therefore this action is necessary. Whilst we are waiting for the details of this new law it is likely that the change will mean that employers in this sector will need to make changes to job adverts, job descriptions and contracts of employment to ensure that they comply with the new legal requirement. Ultimately it will mean employers being forced to have difficult discussions with those employees who are not willing to get vaccinated which could lead to those employees being redeployed or even dismissed if they are not prepared to be vaccinated.

We will report further once the government have announced more details about the new law. In the meantime, if you would like advice on any particular aspect of the above, please contact the Care team to discuss how we can help you.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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