The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 were approved on 22nd July 2021, and have made it mandatory for a person working or providing professional services in a care home to have the Covid-19 vaccine, with the new rules coming into force on 11th November 2021.
Vaccines will be compulsory unless the person has provided clinical reasons why he or she cannot be vaccinated. Religious and philosophical beliefs do not suffice, and the new regulations apply to England only.
The clinical exemption will be clarified in the Code of Practice that will be issued to accompany the regulations and is likely to be published in the very near future.
There is a 16-week grace period between the legislation being made and it coming into force on 11th November 2021. This is to try to mitigate the impact on the capacity in care homes by giving them time to encourage their workers to have both vaccines, warn of the consequences if they do not, and arrange alternative staffing to replace those who refuse.
Care homes impacted by these regulations need to start putting measures in place to implement these regulations by 11th November 2021.
This should include introducing a Covid-19 Vaccination Policy, which incorporates the medical exemptions that will be accepted, as well as the evidential requirements. Ideally, the policy should be introduced after discussion with staff.
If employees/workers are still reluctant to have the Covid-19 vaccine then the care home will need to take steps to dismiss the employee/worker by 11th November 2021 and take into account any notice period, as any dismissal will be with notice.
Careful consideration needs to be given to the drafting of a policy, and the subsequent communication and implementation of that policy. This includes timing and confidentiality and fair procedure for dismissal should this be necessary.
If you need any advice on covid-19 vaccine policies or any other employment-related matter, please contact our Employment team for an initial chat.Contact us
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