Closed petition Do not require health and social care workers to take covid-19 vaccination

We, the people, demand that health and social care workers are given the right to exercise free will in relation to any medical procedure and so to be able to refuse to take the covid 19 vaccination without fear of facing discrimination at work or in wider society.

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The government serves the people, not vice versa, so it should not be lawful for the government or its agents to force a section of society to undergo a medical procedure against their will or to sanction discrimination against these people on the basis of their vaccination status.

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 20 September 2021

Watch the petition 'Do not require health and social care workers to take covid-19 vaccination' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 29 June 2021

There is a clear public health rationale for making COVID-19 vaccinations a condition of deployment in care homes in order to protect those who are most vulnerable to severe illness and death.

Vaccines are the best way to protect people from coronavirus and have saved thousands of lives. Vaccinated people are less likely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it. There is also clear evidence that they are less likely to pass the virus onto others.

Residents in care homes are particularly vulnerable to severe illness and death from COVID-19; Around a third (31% - Care home resident deaths registered in England and Wales, provisional - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/carehomeresidentdeathsregisteredinenglandandwalesprovisional) of registered deaths from COVID-19 in England were care home residents, as of 2nd April 2021. Making vaccination a condition of deployment in care homes will help ensure that residents at high risk from COVID-19 either due to their age, underlying health conditions, or disability are better protected against the virus. Care home workers have a duty of care to protect the people they look after and have done a phenomenal job throughout the pandemic to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in these settings. Vaccination is a crucial part of this.

While NHS data shows (Statistics » Supplementary Information - https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/supplementary-information/) the majority of care home workers have been vaccinated (84%), only 65% of older adult care homes in England are currently meeting the minimum level of staff uptake needed to reduce the risk of outbreaks in these high-risk care settings - falling to 44% of care homes in London. Sustaining high levels of staff vaccination now and in the future as people enter the workforce is important to minimise the risk of outbreaks, reduce transmission and protect residents. Therefore, there is a strong case for introducing a new requirement, in order to make these very high-risk environments as safe as possible from the effects of COVID-19.

While some of those who receive care and their relatives have expressed caution about vaccination as a condition of deployment, many have told us that they want themselves (or their relative) to be cared for by someone who is fully vaccinated. Vaccines are a safe and effective way of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Making vaccination a condition of working in a care home will provide residents and their families with the knowledge that their health is the number one priority.

Following a consultation with the care sector and the public we have carefully considered the responses. The regulations will require care home providers to deploy only those staff and volunteers who have received a complete course of their COVID-19 vaccination, unless they are medically exempt. Any professionals visiting a care home, such as healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors will also be required to show they have been vaccinated before entering the home, unless they have a medical exemption. There will be a 16-week grace period from when the regulations are made to when they come into force to enable staff who haven’t been vaccinated to take up the vaccine.

The requirement will not apply to : (i) family and friends visiting a care home resident, including essential care givers (ii) any person providing emergency assistance and any member of the emergency services in execution of their duties (iii) any person providing urgent maintenance assistance (iv) any person providing end of life care or bereavement support, or (v) to any person under the age of 18. Visits from family and friends are vital to ensuring people living in care homes have a good quality of life and maintain a positive wellbeing.

While residents in care homes are most at risk from COVID-19, the responses to the consultation made a clear case for extending this policy beyond care homes to other settings where people vulnerable to COVID-19 may also receive care.

The Government will therefore launch a further public consultation on whether or not to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of deployment in healthcare and the wider social care sector, to help protect patients and the people they care for from becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus.

This is a complex and important issue which must be considered as part of a new consultation. Which is why we want to gather a wide range of perspectives about whether such a requirement should be introduced and how it could be implemented. The consultation will also explore whether flu vaccination should be a condition of deployment in health and social care settings.

Department for Health and Social Care

Other parliamentary business

Government launches public consultation on vaccine requirements for NHS and care staff

The Government has launched a public consultation on whether it should require frontline health and social care staff to be vaccinated against both covid-19 and the flu. The requirement would apply to any health or care worker who works face-to-face with patients and people receiving social care.

Read a summary of the proposals, and share your views:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-vaccination-a-condition-of-deployment-in-the-health-and-wider-social-care-sector

The consultation is open until 22 October.

The Government recently announced that people working in adult care homes will be required to have been vaccinated against covid-19, unless they are medically exempt, to protect vulnerable residents.

It is now consulting on whether it should to extend this requirement to other health and care settings, including hospitals and GP practices. It is also seeking views on whether this requirement should apply to vaccination against flu, in addition to covid-19.

If introduced, this would mean only workers who are vaccinated (or those with a legitimate medical exemption) could deliver frontline health and care services.

The consultation is seeking views from both the public and those working in the health and social care sectors on whether such a requirement should be introduced, and how it could be implemented if so.

Read the proposals in full:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-vaccination-a-condition-of-deployment-in-the-health-and-wider-social-care-sector/making-vaccination-a-condition-of-deployment-in-the-health-and-wider-social-care-sector

Who is running the consultation?

The consultation is being run by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Government department responsible for the NHS and oversight of social care in England.

Find out more about the DHSC:
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health-and-social-care

COVID-19 vaccination requirements introduced for health and social care workers

On Tuesday 14 December the House of Commons debated and approved new requirements for health and social care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Read what MPs said during the debate: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-12-14/debates/8034393B-C568-4DE6-8695-1D63F957537E/PublicHealth

You can also watch the debate on Parliamentlive.tv: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/61329c5b-ac88-4243-bbc9-35f8a142b5c7?in=13:46:46

What do the new rules mean?

The new rules apply to health and social care workers who have face-to-face contact with service users, including volunteers. These people will need to provide evidence that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be deployed to their workplace.

The new requirements are set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2021, which you can read here:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2021/9780348228861

The Government has introduced these rules following a consultation with the public. The consultation asked people for their views on making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector. You can read about the outcome of this consultation here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-vaccination-a-condition-of-deployment-in-the-health-and-wider-social-care-sector/making-vaccination-a-condition-of-deployment-in-the-health-and-wider-social-care-sector#annex-a

Government plans to remove covid-19 vaccination requirements for health and social care staff

Government plans to remove covid-19 vaccination requirements for health and social care staff

On Monday 31 January, the Secretary of State for Health Sajid Javid MP announced plans to revoke laws which required frontline health and social care staff to be vaccinated against covid-19. Before the Government revokes these laws, it will consult with the public and seek approval from Parliament.

Read the Secretary of State's statement and question from MPs: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-01-31/debates/C23A5791-2CC9-44FA-B9D6-BC9355C014C1/VaccinationConditionOfDeployment

In his statement the Secretary of State said the Government would launch a consultation on ending vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and all social care settings.

Find out more about the Government's plans: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/consultation-on-removing-vaccination-as-a-condition-of-deployment-for-health-and-social-care-staff

We'll let you know when the Government launches its consultation.

What are ministerial statements?

Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House, often at short notice. After making a statement the Minister responds to questions on its topic from MPs.

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Share your views on removing COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health and social care staff

On 9 February, the Government launched a public consultation on its proposal to no longer require COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and social care settings.

The Government has said that, given the changes in clinical evidence, they are revisiting the balance of risks and benefits that guided their original decisions to make coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination a condition of deployment.

Find out more about the consultation, and share your views: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/revoking-vaccination-as-a-condition-of-deployment-across-all-health-and-social-care

The consultation is open until 11.45pm on Wednesday 16 February 2022.

Who is running the consultation?

The consultation is being run by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). DHSC is responsible for government policy on health and adult social care matters in England, and for certain health matters not devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Government, or Welsh Government.

Find out more about the DHSC: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health-and-social-care

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Sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/

Government confirms removal of COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health and social care staff

The Government has published its response to last month's public consultation on revoking COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and social care settings. It has confirmed it will be removing the requirement for health and social care staff to be vaccinated as a condition of deployment.

Read a statement by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid MP: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2022-03-01/HCWS654

Read the consultation response in full: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/revoking-vaccination-as-a-condition-of-deployment-across-all-health-and-social-care/outcome/revoking-vaccination-as-a-condition-of-deployment-across-all-health-and-social-care-consultation-response

The revocation of the requirements will come into force on 15 March, and will include the requirements already in place in care homes as well as those which were due to apply in health and wider social care settings from 1 April.

Who ran the consultation on COVID-19 vaccination requirements?

The consultation was run by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). DHSC is responsible for government policy on health and adult social care matters in England, and for certain health matters not devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Government, or Welsh Government.

Find out more about the DHSC: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health-and-social-care

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/