Student healthcare professionals need to be vaccinated unless they qualify for a medical exception.
Student nurses need to get vaccinated or face being unable to complete their course and join the professional register, Health Education England (HEE) has warned.
Recent amendments to The Health and Social Care Act mean that all healthcare workers, including student healthcare professionals, who have direct contact with patients or service users must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The new rules come into effect on 1 April 2022.
A third “Booster” vaccine is currently not included in the legislation so workers are considered vaccinated after two jabs.
Unable to undertake placements.
New guidance published this week by HEE outlines how ‘Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment’ will affect all student healthcare professionals, including student nurses.
The document explains; “If you have not been vaccinated by 31 March, you will not be able to undertake placements that require contact with patients, which will affect your ability to complete your programme and join your regulatory body’s register.”
Student nurses will have until 3 February 2022, 8 weeks before regulations are enforced, to have had their first dose of the vaccine. A second dose can then be administered by 31 March 2022.
The new guidance encourages vaccine-hesitant students to seek urgent advice.
Those with a legitimate medical exception are excluded from the new rules while anyone who has recently had Covid or is pregnant can apply for a temporary exemption.
It explains; “There will be a small number of people where the clinical advice is that the COVID-19 vaccination is not suitable for them. In such cases they will be able to apply for proof of their medical exemption status to ensure they comply with the regulations.”
“You may also be able to have a temporary exemption if you have a short-term medical condition or recent covid infection.”
HEE emphasises that while universities can provide support and guidance, students themselves have the obligation to either be vaccinated or prove their exemption.
A requirement of deployment.
The document also goes on to warn that unvaccinated students who are due to qualify may find it difficult to gain employment.
“Covid vaccination will be a requirement of deployment for all those in patent facing roles in services regulated by the CQC.
“You will be required to provide evidence to your employer of full vaccination status or exemption to undertake a role with patient facing duties.
Adding that “Occupational Health Departments will look at this as they do other required vaccinations (e.g. MMR, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Varicella) as part of pre-employment screening.”