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The UK Government has launched a public consultation about its controversial decision to revoke provisions that require COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and social care settings.

This consultation follows a series of events surrounding mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for frontline health and social care staff.

In November 2021, the government announced that from 1 April 2022, it would become a legal requirement for all frontline health and social care workers to be double jabbed against COVID-19.

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This sparked a very mixed response from the sector (LINK). While some leaders in the field felt that this was a necessary decision to keep staff and patients safe from avoidable infection, others felt that this decision would be counter-productive and leave more staffing shortages at a time where the NHS and social care staff were already – and still are – under extreme pressures.

Then, the government recently announced that it was looking to revoke this decision. It cited that Omicron is currently the dominant variant in the UK, and that this variant causes less hospitalisation.

Paired with a high number of people in the UK having their booster jabs, the government expressed its plans to revoke the decision due to lower mortality rates and higher levels of protection against the Omicron variant.

William Lee, Policy and Parliamentary Executive of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), has called on the government to provide immediate and clear guidance surrounding current COVID-19 vaccination rules for those currently working on the frontline to avoid confusion, and to ensure staff can still deliver high-quality care for patients.

Now, the UK Government is revisiting the balance of risks and benefits on its original decision to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment.

The new consultation seeks views on the intention to revoke the policy. It asks people for their thoughts on the intention to revoke the mandatory jabs policy, whether there are alternative methods of increasing vaccine uptake, and whether revoking the policy would negatively impact certain groups of people.

People who are interested in sharing their views on the intention to revoke this policy can do so here.

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 16 February 2022

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