From 11 November 2021, care home workers in a CQC-registered care home in England (for nursing or personal care) are required to have a “complete course” of a COVID-19 vaccine (currently two doses), unless they have a medical exemption.
In the explanatory memorandum to the regulations, SAGE advised a vaccination uptake rate of 80% in staff and 90% in residents in each individual care home setting is required to provide a minimum level of protection against outbreaks of COVID-19. Only 65% of care homes in England are currently meeting this dual threshold, and the proportion is only 44% of care homes in London.
The regulations set out that an individual (unless fully vaccinated or medically exempt) should not enter a care home premises (save surrounding grounds), unless they meet the following exemptions:
- are a service user i.e. resident residing in a care home;
- it is reasonably necessary to provide emergency assistance;
- it is reasonably necessary to provide urgent maintenance assistance;
- execution of duties as a member of the emergency services;
- a friend or relative of a resident (who is or has been residing in the care home);
- visiting a resident who is dying;
- it is reasonably necessary to provide comfort or support to a resident in relation to a bereavement following the death of a friend or relative; or
- an individual under the age of 18.
The government intendeds to publish operational guidance on the regulations by the end of July 2021. The regulations will be reviewed after one year from the date they come into force and then for each successive yearly period (if still applicable).
Paula Bailey comments:
“From 11 November 2021 care homes in England will have to comply with the mandatory vaccination requirement, something which will add to the existing staffing issues and cause an additional administrative burden. Many in the sector have been critical on the lack of detail from the government on the implementation and potential impact of the policy, and further guidance on the operation of the policy will be eagerly awaited.”
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