The government has today launched a consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment for all health and social care workers.
Staff, healthcare providers, stakeholders, patients and their families are being urged to share their views on plans to make COVID-19 and flu vaccines mandatory for frontline staff, with a final decision expected this winter.
The six-week consultation will seek views on the proposals, its scope, and any potential impact it could have on staffing and safety, such as reducing staff sickness absence.
Findings will then help inform decision-making around how the change could be implemented and who could be exempt.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Many patients being treated in hospitals and other clinical settings are most at risk of suffering serious consequences of COVID-19, and we must do what we can to protect them.
“It’s so clear to see the impact vaccines have against respiratory viruses which can be fatal to the vulnerable, and that’s why we’re exploring mandatory vaccines for both COVID-19 and flu.”
The government recently consulted on making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for staff working the adult social care sector. Care home workers will now need to be double jabbed as a condition of deployment in CQC-regulated care homes in England by 11 November, unless exempt.
And a draft consultation seen by the UKHCA indicates that it is likely the government will “press ahead” with plans to make vaccination mandatory for the entire social care workforce, including home care workers, “as soon as it can make it happen”.
There is concern among care associations and providers that the legislation could lead to a substantial loss of frontline workers in the sector, which is already experiencing its worst workforce crisis in history.
Leaders in social care have also described the government’s move to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for care staff as a “kick in the teeth” for the sector, as the same rules don’t yet apply to NHS workers.
The consultation will be launched on the government website later today.