Everyone working in care homes to be fully vaccinated under new law to protect residents
Care home residents will be better protected from death and serious illness, following confirmation from the UK Government that people working in care homes will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The new legislation means from October – subject to Parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16-week grace period – anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption.
It will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers deployed in the care home.
Those coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers and tradespeople, will also have to follow the new regulations, unless they have a medical exemption.
The responses to the consultation made a case for extending this policy beyond care homes to other settings where people vulnerable to COVID-19 receive care, such as domiciliary care and wider healthcare settings.
Based on this evidence, the government has confirmed that it will launch a further public consultation in due course on whether or not to make COVID-19 and flu vaccination a condition of deployment in health and care settings.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock commented: “Vaccines save lives and while staff and residents in care homes have been prioritised and the majority are now vaccinated we need to do everything we can to keep reducing the risk.
“Through our consultation we have listened to the experiences and concerns of providers and people living and working in care homes to help shape our approach.
“We have a responsibility to do all we can to safeguard those receiving care including in the NHS and so will be consulting further on whether to extend to other health and social care workers.
“This is the right thing to do and a vitally important step to continue protecting care homes now and in the future. I’d urge anyone working in care homes to get their jab as soon as possible.
There will be exceptions for visiting family and friends, under 18s, emergency services and people undertaking urgent maintenance work.”
The Social Care Working Group of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advises that an uptake rate for one dose of 80 per cent in staff and 90 per cent in residents in each individual care home setting is needed to provide a minimum level of protection against outbreaks of COVID-19.
While the majority of care home workers have now been vaccinated, only 65 per cent of older care homes in England are currently meeting the minimum level of staff uptake for one dose needed to reduce the risk of outbreaks in these high-risk care settings – falling to 44 per cent of care homes in London.
The original scope of the consultation proposed applying this to only those care homes who look after someone aged 65 and over, though following the consultation it became clear of the need to extend this to all CQC-registered care homes providing nursing and personal care.
There was significant support for broadening the scope of the policy to include all those coming into close contact with residents; and some support to include all those entering care homes, in any capacity. Regulations will be laid before Parliament as secondary legislation at the earliest opportunity.
If approved by Parliament, there will be a 16-week grace period from when the regulations are made to when they come into force to enable staff who haven’t been vaccinated to take up the vaccine. A majority of adult social care staff will be eligible for their second dose eight weeks after their first.https://thiis.co.uk/everyone-working-in-care-homes-to-be-fully-vaccinated-under-new-law-to-protect-residents/https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Tunstall-Connected-Care-Homes-Assistive-tech-elderly-woman.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Tunstall-Connected-Care-Homes-Assistive-tech-elderly-woman.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1COVID-19 Sector NewsGovernment & Local AuthoritiesNewsroomNHSReports & ResearchSector Newscare home,COVID-19,Government,legislation,vaccine Care home residents will be better protected from death and serious illness, following confirmation from the UK Government that people working in care homes will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The new legislation means from October – subject to Parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16-week grace period –...Liane McIvorLiane McIvorliane@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine