Last reviewed 25 January 2022

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published operational guidance for the implementation of mandatory vaccination as a condition of employment (VCOD) in wider, non-residential adult social care settings.

The Health and Social Care Act (2008) (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No.2) Regulations 2022, made on 6 January 2022, mean that from 1 April 2022 social care providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) must ensure that anyone they employ or engage to carry out direct and face-to-face, CQC-regulated social care activities have provided evidence that they have satisfied the Covid-19 vaccination requirements set out in the regulations, or that they are either medically exempt or covered by other exceptions.

In advance of this deadline, there is a 12-week grace period to give enough time for processes to be in place and unvaccinated members of staff to be vaccinated. Under current vaccination guidance, eight weeks are required between the first and second vaccine dose.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment for the Delivery of CQC-Regulated Activities in Wider Adult Social Care Settings provides operational guidance about how to implement the regulations in wider adult social care settings, including about where and how they apply.

There is separate guidance available on how the regulations apply to care homes and to wider healthcare settings.

People who are in scope include those working as employees, contractors, agency workers, students or volunteers or as any other type of worker, provided that they are providing direct, face-to-face, CQC-regulated activity on behalf of a registered person, subject to certain exemptions and conditions set out in the guidance.

The document lists the types of evidence that can be used to demonstrate an individual’s vaccination status and possible reasons an exemption may be granted, with all exemptions being assessed by a doctor, specialist clinician or midwife.

Individuals may also be considered temporarily medically exempt from having to demonstrate that they have received their first, second or top-up dose of a Covid-19 vaccine during this time.

Registered persons need to inform anyone they employ or engage within scope about the requirements of the regulations, check the vaccination or exemption status of staff who are in scope of the regulations, and ensure that systems and processes are in place to ensure that individuals in scope have provided evidence of their vaccination status or that they are exempt or covered by other exceptions.