At a glance: The mandatory vaccine policy for care staff

On the 4th of August 2021, the UK government introduced guidance around the new requirements for all care home workers in England to be fully vaccinated unless exempt.

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What is the care home worker vaccine policy in England?

More than 1.26 million social care workers in England are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, helping to protect the people they care for. On the 4th of August 2021, the UK government introduced guidance for a new policy requiring all care home workers in England to be fully vaccinated unless medically exempt. While the regulations apply to all CQC registered care homes in England, people who live in Scotland or Wales but work in England must still show proof of vaccination or exemption.

With the new regulations coming into effect on 11 November 2021, this means any person working in a care home who hasn’t yet been received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should do so by 16 of September 2021. This is the last possible date the first dose can be administered so the second vaccination can be received by 11 November and allow the individual to remain working without interruption.

It will be the legal responsibility of a CQC registered manager or service provider at the care home to ensure that people who enter their business are either vaccinated or exempt, with a few exceptions listed below (information for registered persons can be found here). As part of CQC inspections, there must be evidence to confirm the appropriate systems and processes are in place to comply with this requirement.

Who will need to show proof of vaccination or exemption to enter a care home?

  • Current and new staff
  • Funeral directors
  • Persons entering a care home for a job interview
  • Postal workers and couriers if required to go inside a care home
  • Staff travelling from non-care settings (trainers, hairdressing, maintenance, activities, etc.)
  • Students (unless they are under 18 or visiting as a friend or family member)
  • Volunteers (unless they are under 18)

Full details about each group can be found on the policy.

Who will not need to show proof of vaccination or exemption to enter a care home?

  • Care home residents
  • Emergency assistance / services
  • Friends, relatives and essential care givers
  • Maintenance workers if the work is being done outside the care home
  • Maintenance workers if urgent work must be carried out inside in the event of a risk to life (gas leak, serious roof leak, etc.)
  • People visiting for death or bereavement
  • Under 18s

Full details about each group can be found on the policy.

How can care home workers prove they have been fully vaccinated?

If you were vaccinated through the NHS in England you can demonstrate your vaccination status to a CQC registered person using the NHS COVID Pass service. There are three ways to access this:

Individuals vaccinated in Wales can also access their vaccination status through the NHS COVID Pass service but cannot use the NHS app as proof. For more find information on how to obtain a record for Wales, visit the gov.wales website.

Individuals vaccinated in Scotland will be sent a letter after their second dose and a digital copy of the letter can be viewed online. For more information, visit nhsinform.scot.

Please note that an NHS appointment card cannot will not be accepted as proof of vaccination and there currently isn’t a formal process in place for individuals who were vaccinated outside of the NHS.

For full details on the new policy and regulations titled ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes: operational guidance’ – visit the Department of Health and Social Care.

Originally published on August 19, 2021
Article updated on August 19, 2021

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