Closed petition Prohibit employers from requiring staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19

Make it illegal for any employer to mandate vaccination for its employees. This should apply to all public sector (including the NHS, armed forces, care workers), third sector and all private sector.

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We believe making vaccination a condition of employment undermines the principle of informed consent. All British people should have the right to bodily autonomy and must never be coerced into receiving a medical intervention they may not want.

Any medical intervention must always be with properly informed consent (awareness of risks vs benefits) and be free of coercion (whether explicit or implicit).

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 24 January 2022

Watch the petition 'Prohibit employers from requiring staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 25 November 2021

Organisations’ practices must be lawful and not discriminate. Government has identified limited settings where there is a public health rationale for making vaccination a condition of deployment.

Read the response in full

The vaccines are the best defence against Covid-19 and uptake of the Covid-19 vaccination has been very high across the UK. Vaccination reduces the likelihood of infection and therefore helps break chains of transmission.

Government has identified limited high risk settings where there is strong public health rationale for making vaccination a condition of deployment. The Government has recently announced that health and social care services will need to ensure that workers who have direct face to face contact with service users have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, following consultation. The Government response to this consultation is published on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-vaccination-a-condition-of-deployment-in-the-health-and-wider-social-care-sector.

This policy applies to all providers, both public and private, who provide a CQC regulated activity, covering a broad range of services including those provided by hospitals, GP and dental practices and social care providers. Ensuring the maximum number of NHS staff are vaccinated will help ensure the most vulnerable patients gain the greatest possible levels of protection against infection. Elderly people, those with disabilities and some seriously ill people in hospital face a higher risk from Covid-19 than the wider population and are more likely to use health and care services more often. The measures will also protect workers, which is important for hospital trusts where extensive unexpected absences can put added pressure on already hardworking clinicians providing patient care.

The Government has set out its Plan B for managing the spread of Covid-19 throughout the Autumn/Winter. As part of this plan, the Government has set out proposals to introduce mandatory Covid-certification in limited high-risk settings such as nightclubs and other large events. Under these proposals, the workforce would also have the option of undertaking regular testing as a means of demonstrating their Covid-certification status.

Outside of these settings, an employer who proposes to introduce a requirement for staff to be vaccinated will need to consider the existing legal framework, including the law on employment, equalities and data protection. Whether or not it is justifiable to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of deployment will depend on the particular context and circumstances.

There are existing legal protections which apply equally in the context of vaccination, as they do in other employment circumstances. In addition to contractual and common law protections, there are relevant statutory frameworks, such as the Equality Act 2010, which provides protection against unlawful discrimination. The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides various general protections, including against unfair dismissal and unlawful deductions from wages. In addition, collecting, storing and using information about workers’ vaccination status will engage the law on data protection. Employers will need to ensure that they have acted in accordance with their legal obligations when making decisions on requiring a COVID-19 vaccination.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Other parliamentary business

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.

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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

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/