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From 15 March 2022, there will no longer be a mandatory requirement for employees working in Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered care homes to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In addition the requirement for health and social care workers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will not come into effect on 1 April 2022.

The Government had legislated to require employees in CQC registered care homes to be fully vaccinated from November 2021 and this requirement was due to be extended to health and social care workers, including frontline NHS workers from 1 April 2022. In response to industry and public criticism and concern regarding the necessity of the regulations and that they could lead to increased staff shortages, the Government launched a public consultation.

The results of the consultation have now been released and can be viewed here in full. Over 90,000 responses were received of which 90% of responses stated that they agreed that the requirement for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations should be revoked.

A government publication has explained that the regulations were implemented when Delta was the dominant variant and the now, less severe, dominant Omicron variant results in substantially fewer people requiring emergency care or hospital admission. In addition, the latest data from the UK Health Security Agency shows that 5 to 9 weeks after getting a booster vaccination, individuals are at least 85% less likely to end up in hospital than those who are unvaccinated.

The Government has considered the responses to the consultation along with the current data regarding Covid-19 infections and taken the decision to revoke the regulations governing mandatory vaccinations. However, the Health and Social Care Secretary has taken to opportunity to remind “the minority of unvaccinated health and care workers of their professional responsibility to be vaccinated”.

This decision will likely be welcome news to health and social care employers and employees who were facing the difficult decision to terminate employment contracts as a result of vaccination status because this may have resulted in unemployment and staff shortages. Guidance has been issued by the Government to suggest that if an employee’s contract of employment has already been terminated by reason of vaccination status they could be reemployed, however without the benefit of continuity of service.

The decision to revoke the regulations regarding mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations may cause employers and employees additional queries especially if processes have commenced or even concluded resulting in dismissals. If you would like advice on issues surrounding the revocation of the regulations, Covid-19 guidance or employment law generally please email either Nick Smith nsmith@mincoffs..co.uk or Laura Liddle lliddle@mincoffs.co.uk from Mincoffs Employment Law Team.

 

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