From 15 September 2021, for a temporary period, people working or volunteering in care homes who have a medical reason why they are unable to have the vaccine will be able to self-certify that they meet the medical exemption criteria.
Examples of medical exemptions include individuals:
- Receiving end of life care where vaccination is not in the individual’s interests;
- With learning disabilities or autistic individuals or those with a combination of impairments which cause distress and mean that vaccination and testing is distressing and reasonably adjustments cannot be achieved;
- With medical contraindications to the vaccine e.g. severe allergies to all COVID-19 vaccines; or
- Who have had an adverse reaction to the first dose such as myocarditis.
Time limited exemptions are also available for those with short-term medical conditions such as people receiving hospital care or receiving medication which may interact with the vaccination. A time limited exemption is also available for pregnant women should they choose to take it.
The self-certification form is a temporary solution until the NHS COVID Pass system is launched. Workers will need to sign the self-certification form provided by the government (which is only valid for use in care homes), however are not required to provide any supporting evidence. The self-certification confirms that providing false information may result in disciplinary action.
Once the NHS COVID Pass system is launched, care home workers will need to apply for a formal medical exemption through that process or have a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine. The temporary self-certification will expire 12 weeks after the NHS COVID Pass system is launched.
Hannah Ball, Director, comments:
Self-certification of exemption from mandatory vaccination could further complicate an already difficult issue for care homes, who will now need to be alive to the risk of staff providing false information around medical exemptions (especially for those who have already communicated an unwillingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine).
Care homes should ensure their plan to enforce mandatory vaccinations by 11 November 2021 is adjusted to reflect the latest development around exemption self-certification. It will be important to continue to communicate with staff about the implications for them of not being vaccinated and considering those who wish to rely on self-certification of exemption.
For further information on this subject, please contact a member of the team here.
The information on this site about legal matters is provided as a general guide only. Although we try to ensure that all of the information on this site is accurate and up to date, this cannot be guaranteed. The information on this site should not be relied upon or construed as constituting legal advice and Howes Percival LLP disclaims liability in relation to its use. You should seek appropriate legal advice before taking or refraining from taking any action.