Mandatory COVID vaccination for health and social care staff to end in March
The legal requirement for health and social care staff to be double jabbed will be removed from 15 March, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed.
Following a public consultation last month, where nine in 10 responses supported the removal of the legal requirement for health and social care staff to be double jabbed, the UK Government is revoking the regulations.
In January 2022, DHSC announced its intention to revoke vaccination as a condition of deployment, subject to consultation.
When the original decision was taken to introduce COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of deployment in 2021, Delta was the dominant variant. This has since been replaced by Omicron, which is less severe, with the percentage of those requiring emergency care or hospital admission approximately half that of the Delta variant, DHSC highlights.
The government says the UK population now has strong immunity to live with COVID-19, following the successful vaccination programme.
The decision to revoke the mandatory coronavirus vaccination requirement for health and social care workers aligns with the lifting of a number of restrictions, rules and regulations from the UK Government. This includes recently removing the legal requirement in England to self-isolate following a positive coronavirus test and ending routine contact tracing. Close contacts who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to test daily for seven days, while unvaccinated close contacts will not be required to self-isolate.
Following DHSC’s announcement about lifting the mandatory COVID-19 jabs requirement for the health and social care sector, William Lee, Policy and Parliamentary Executive of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), called for immediate and clear guidance surrounding some of the policy implications for the sector.
He warned that not doing so would cause confusion and delay among workers, as staff would be unclear about who could and could not work on the frontline while the current mandatory jabs regulation is still in place.
DHSC is urging health and social care staff to still get a COVID-19 vaccine as a “professional responsibility”, although the compulsory regulation will be lifted in under two weeks.