The new rules will apply to all care workers including agency workers and volunteers.
The government has today confirmed it will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all social care workers.
The new legislation means from October – subject to parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16 week grace period – anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption.
Those coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors will also have to follow the new regulations unless they have a medical exemption.
It will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers deployed in the care home.
Safeguarding the vulnerable.
Announcing the plans, Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “Vaccines save lives and while staff and residents in care homes have been prioritised and the majority are now vaccinated we need to do everything we can to keep reducing the risk.
“Through our consultation we have listened to the experiences and concerns of providers and people living and working in care homes to help shape our approach.
“We have a responsibility to do all we can to safeguard those receiving care including in the NHS and so will be consulting further on whether to extend to other health and social care workers.
“This is the right thing to do and a vitally important step to continue protecting care homes now and in the future. I’d urge anyone working in care homes to get their jab as soon as possible.”
The government is also considering extending the rules to all NHS workers.
Protecting staff alongside clients.
Responding to the news, Helen Donovan, the Royal College of Nursing’s Professional Lead for Public Health, said: “The RCN strongly recommends all members have the vaccination as soon as they’re able to. It is considered to be best practice, to protect them alongside their patients and clients as well as friends and family.
“However, we need to do more to support health and care staff to get the vaccination, taking time to discuss their concerns.
“Staff need to be able to make this decision in a supportive environment with the right information, encouragement and clear explanation of the benefit and value of the vaccine.
“It is imperative that all organisations make it easy for their staff to get vaccinated, by enabling them to have it within working hours, or at a time and location that suits them. This collaborative approach works well and improves vaccine uptake.”