From 11th November 2021, all care home workers, and anyone entering a care home, will need to be fully vaccinated, unless they are exempt under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 ('the Regulations').
These regulations require registered persons of all CQC registered care homes (which provide accommodation together with nursing or personal care) to ensure that a person does not enter the indoor premises unless they have been vaccinated. The regulations were laid in Parliament on 22 June 2021 and were made on 22 July 2021.
What the regulations mean for Care Home Workers
From 11 November 2021, it will become law that anyone entering a care home must have had a complete course of an authorised COVID-19 vaccine. For care home staff, this means they will only be able to continue to work inside a care home if they are vaccinated, unless they are:
a) under the age of 18
b) medically exempt
There are other groups of people who may enter the care home and may not have to show that they have been vaccinated. You can read the full guidance here.
The 16 week grace period started on the 22nd July. This means that the 16th September is the last date care home workers can get their first COVID-19 vaccination dose in order to be fully vaccinated by the time the regulations come into force on 11th November.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective and under the regulations, care home workers must receive the full dosage of the COVID vaccination.
All adults aged 18 or over can now get vaccinated against COVID-19. You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS. If you were contacted but have not booked your appointments, you're still eligible and you can book your appointments anytime by visiting the NHS Covid vaccination booking website or call 119.
There are also several pop up walk-in vaccination clinics going on in your local area at the moment, you don’t need an appointment, you just turn up. Find your nearest centre at nhs.uk/grab-a-jab.
How to demonstrate your vaccination status
NHSX are considering how the NHS COVID Pass service could be used to support registered persons and staff to check and demonstrate vaccination status.
In the interim, if you have been vaccinated by the NHS in England you can demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination records using the NHS COVID Pass service via the following three routes:
•the NHS App
•the NHS website – NHS.uk
•the NHS COVID Pass letter
Your NHS appointment card cannot be used a proof of vaccination status.
If you have been vaccinated in Scotland you can find information on how to obtain a record of your COVID-19 vaccination status at nhsinform.scot. If you have been vaccinated in Wales you can find information on how to obtain a record of their COVID-19 vaccination status at gov.wales.
If you have been vaccinated outside of the UK, the government are working to find a solution to what would be considered acceptable evidence and further guidance will be released as soon as possible.
Vaccination may not be appropriate for you due to clinical reasons. In this case, you will be able to seek a clinically approved medical exemption from the requirement to gain vaccination.
The range of circumstances in which an exemption may be granted which will reflect the Green Book on Immunisation against infectious disease (COVID-19: the green book, chapter 14a) and clinical advice from The Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Guidance for exemption certification is currently being developed and we will update this page when it has been released. The government has advised that there will be a clear process for care workers to follow if they think they may have a clinical reason to be exempt. The process will be aligned with certification for domestic events, exemptions from self-isolation for confirmed contacts and travel.
If you are exempt, the certification will not show the reason why you are exempt, only the fact that you are exempt and the registered person responsible for checking vaccination and/or exemption does not need to know the reason under the regulations.
Responsibility for checking that people are vaccinated or exempt
Registered persons (the person registered with the CQC as a manager or service provider) are ultimately responsible for ensuring that everyone who enters the care home is vaccinated or exempt.
Each home may have a slightly different process for checking this and how regularly they review their records. Currently, the easiest way to demonstrate your vaccination status is to download the NHS App on your phone, so your vaccination status is available on request. (Please see above for other ways of demonstrating your vaccination status)
Frontline health and social care workers will be offered a third dose COVID-19 booster vaccine and the annual influenza vaccine from September 2021. These additional vaccinations will help protect yourself and the people you care for.
Booster doses are not currently included in the regulations however a provision for booster vaccines may be added to the regulations in the future.
We will be contacting all of the Cream Team directly to ensure they have the correct evidence to demonstrate their vaccination records or exemption, so this can be shown when requested by a registered person when first entering a care home to work.
If you are concerned or have any queries about getting vaccinated, please speak to us. We will try to answer any of your questions honestly and respectfully.