Last reviewed 16 September 2021

The Government has announced that care home staff in England who are within scope of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations can temporarily self-certify their medical exemption. This is temporary evidence for their employer that they do not need to get the vaccine; evidence needed in the employer’s compliance with the mandatory care home vaccine rules which apply from 11 November 2021.

Key points of the announcement

  • Effective today, care home workers/volunteers can declare themselves medically exempt from getting the Covid vaccine without medical proof.

  • Care home workers can self-certify by filling in a form created by the Government.

  • Signing the form and giving it to employers is proof of their temporary exemption status. Employers have to accept this but will need to follow up with the worker/volunteer to seek production of formal exemption.

  • A new NHS Covid Pass system is set to go live imminently. Care home workers/volunteers will need to then use this to apply for a formal medical exemption.

  • Temporary exemption will expire 12 weeks after the new NHS Covid pass system is launched.

  • The form makes it clear that providing false information about being exempt may result in disciplinary action from the employer.

Who is exempt?

While this list produced by the Government is not exhaustive, examples of medical exemptions from Covid-19 vaccination could include individuals:

  • receiving end of life care where vaccination is not in the individual’s interests

  • with learning disabilities or autistic individuals, or with a combination of impairments which result in the same distress, who find vaccination and testing distressing because of their condition and cannot be achieved through reasonable adjustments such as provision of an accessible environment

  • with medical contraindications to the vaccines such as severe allergy to all Covid-19 vaccines or their constituents who have had adverse reactions to the first dose (for example, myocarditis).

Time-limited exemptions will also be available for those with short-term medical conditions (for example, 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.

Individuals that have received a Covid-19 vaccination abroad can also self-certify as medically exempt. This is because it is not clinically appropriate for them to be vaccinated in the UK if they have already received a partial or full course of vaccination overseas.