Last reviewed 10 August 2021

Detailed operational guidance has been produced by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to help support the implementation of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021, which require registered providers at all Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered care homes to ensure that anyone who works or volunteers in the indoor premises can demonstrate that they have been vaccinated or have an exemption.

The CQC has urged all relevant providers, managers and staff to read the guidance and take any necessary actions in order to be ready for when this duty is in place.

The key dates to bear in mind for this change in the law are 22 July, from when the grace period starts; 16 September, which is the last date for care home workers to get their first dose so they are fully vaccinated by the time the regulations come into force; and 11 November when the regulations come into force.

The DHSC guidance is available here.

The CQC stressed that the new requirement forms part of the fundamental standards and will be monitored and enforced in appropriate cases by the regulator. Monitoring will not start until vaccination becomes a duty in November 2021, and the CQC will continue to use existing assessment and enforcement policies and take a proportionate approach.

The CQC has issued a statement to outline its approach to registration, ongoing monitoring and inspection, and enforcement, here.

The regulator said registered persons will not be required to show a record of the evidence of vaccinations to inspectors but they will need to be able to provide reassurance that systems and processes are in place to ensure individuals who enter the premises are fully vaccinated. It said they may choose to make a record of the evidence they have seen for their own internal staff employment record keeping and, if evidence is collected and recorded, all personal data must be handled in accordance with UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to the guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The DHSC has also worked with Skills for Care to provide additional resources to help care home managers and providers prepare for the new regulations. This includes Q&As, a vaccine communications toolkit and materials to support workforce capacity planning, recruitment and retention, here.

Vaccinations can be booked online through the national booking service or by calling 119. It is also now possible to visit a walk-in centre without the need to book in advance.