As of 11th of November 2021, people working in care homes will need to be vaccinated against Covid-19, aside from those with a select number of exemptions.
The UK Ruling
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been felt by all, but perhaps none more so than the care sector.
The UK government introduced the new legislation, which will come into effect from 11 November 2021, in an attempt to safeguard all care home employees and residents.
Providing it meets parliamentary approval, all care services in England governed by the Care Quality Commission will need to adhere to the rule, aside from those who are deemed medically exempt.
The legislation will also apply to agency workers, healthcare workers, any tradespeople who may have to carry out work on the building, as well as volunteers.
These groups will be required to be double vaccinated, however, this rule will not extend to any visitors of residents.
Around the world
While France has agreed to similar rules for their healthcare workers, other EU countries have yet to follow suit.
In Northern Ireland, the Commissioner for Older People has been urging care home staff to get vaccinated.
Figures for the country indicate that more than one in five local care homes are dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak, while approximately a quarter of care home staff have yet to be vaccinated.
Challenges to the care sector
Although this legislation was drafted following extensive discussion between the government, care staff, providers and residents, the decision has not been met with unanimous approval.
Care organisations had previously suggested such a move could cause more issues in a sector that is trying to recover following the height of the pandemic, and similarly the British Medical Association warned about the negative impacts of compulsory vaccination.
With November not far away, care providers do not have a great deal of time to prepare.
Managing the change with staff could prove challenging, with the Care minister Helen Whatley stating that staff who didn’t want to be vaccinated could be transferred to a different role, but also conceded that there were not many suitable roles that don’t require working in a home.
The debate around the legislation continues as the UK, and world, attempts to return to normal life while attempting to manage the ongoing pandemic.