Alerts

U-Turn on Mandatory Vaccination Requirements

The Government launched a consultation into ending vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and social care settings. This consultation closed on 16 February. If parliamentary approval is secured, the regulations will be revoked.

We recently reported on the government’s plan to extend mandatory vaccination requirements to all health and social care workers. You can find our commentary on this extension here. The proposed extension was a result of new regulations announced on 6 January 2022. The regulations sought to ensure that all workers who carried out direct and face-to-face CQC regulated activities were vaccinated against COVID-19 from 1 April 2022. These mandatory vaccination requirements were to be introduced as a condition of deployment for all affected workers within the health and social care sector.

The Secretary of State outlined that the initial introduction of mandatory vaccinations was largely down to the prominence of the Delta variant within the UK’s population and as the position has now changed significantly, the policy on vaccination as a condition of deployment should be reviewed.

Upon receiving new scientific advice, the decision to launch a consultation into the revocation of the regulations was reported as being two-fold. The first of these reported factors is that the UK population is better protected from COVID-19 related hospitalisation. This is largely to do with the high percentage of uptake in both COVID-19 vaccination and booster doses. The second factor is that the Omicron variant, the most dominant variant in the UK, is “intrinsically less severe” than the Delta variant. It is the Secretary of State’s view that “when taken with the first factor – that we now have greater population protection – the evidence shows that the risk of presentation to emergency care or hospital admission with Omicron is approximately half of that for Delta.”

Comment

With the consultation closing on16 February 2022, it is very likely that the regulations shall be revoked shortly.

Employers should therefore not take any further steps to terminate the employment of any unvaccinated staff or and await confirmation of the revocation of the regulations. Given that the regulations remain in force until they are revoked, employers may still take steps to encourage and support staff to be vaccinated in line with NHS England guidance.

If you have any queries regarding vaccinations or any other HR query, please contact our employment team on 01228 552600 or 01524 548494.

 

This alert does not provide a full statement of the law and readers are advised to take legal advice before taking any action based on the information contained herein.

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