The pandemic has taken its toll among care homes with deaths from COVID-19 within care homes having now reached almost 29,000 throughout the UK since the pandemic began.
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) has advised that to receive the minimum amount of protection against COVID-19, at last 80 per cent of staff and 90 per cent of residents needed to be vaccinated. However, so far only 79 per cent of staff across the country have received the vaccination.
Although many welcome the proposal, the issue so far has been a contentious one in the care sector. Concern has been raised as to why it should be limited to staff within care homes when older people often receive treatment from health staff from outside the care home and different healthcare professionals.
If the vaccine is going to mandatory for adult social care staff, should it not also be mandatory for staff working in the NHS and those staff working in other care home settings, hospices and those working in supported living?
If mandatory vaccinations are introduced within care homes, one hopes that the Government will provide clear guidance for employers to deal with all of these complex issues.
The consultation period is expected to be concluded on 21st May 2021.The Government will then be expected to make a decision as to whether this will become a condition of employment for care home workers.
Employers may want to consider implementing a voluntary Vaccination Policy. This is in order to help encourage employees to have the vaccine in any event. It deals with important issues such as providing relevant information about vaccination, time off for vaccinations and data protection. We are able to draft a suitable policy for your business at a cost of only £350 plus VAT. Please contact a member of our Employment Team to discuss this further.
Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.