Last reviewed 14 September 2021

The Government has launched a consultation on Making Vaccination a Condition of Deployment in the Health and Wider Social Care Sector to seek views on whether or not to extend vaccination requirements to other health and care settings for Covid-19 and also for flu.

The Government recently announced that Covid-19 vaccination will be required of people entering a Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered adult care home, unless exempt, to protect vulnerable residents.

Now the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is seeking views on whether or not to extend vaccination requirements to other health and care settings for Covid-19 and also for flu.

The DHSC said recent research has shown people infected with both flu and Covid-19 are more than twice as likely to die as someone with Covid-19 alone and nearly six times more likely than those with neither flu nor Covid-19.

The consultation plans to introduce requirements for frontline health and care workers; those with face-to face contact with patients and clients though the delivery of services as part of a CQC regulated activity. Only those workers who are vaccinated, or those with a legitimate medical exemption, could be deployed to deliver those services.

The requirements, if introduced, would be implemented through a change in the law to ensure all those that are deployed to undertake direct treatment or personal care as part of a CQC regulated activity are vaccinated. The consultation will take into account the potential impact on staffing and reducing staff absences from sickness.

NHS Confederation Chief Executive Matthew Taylor said the focus must remain on increasing vaccine confidence and the approach taken to date to encourage uptake through informed consent remains the preferred option. He added: “We will also work closely with our trade union colleagues to address the concerns of their members and to ensure that the implementation of any decision is handled sensitively”.

Latest figures show that 92% of NHS staff have had their first dose and 88% both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Ministers are urging the remainder of people to take up the offer now to keep themselves and those they care for safe.

The British Medical Association (BMA) recently backed a motion calling for “all doctors” to be vaccinated against Covid-19, unless there is a medical contraindication, at its Annual Representative Meeting (ARM). The motion was passed with a majority of around three quarters of the vote.

The consultation is running for a period of six weeks and closes on 22 October 2021.