Govt to end vaccine requirement for all health and social care

1 March 2022

The government has said that it will end the requirement for all health and social care workers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of employment.

The existing policy had meant that from 11 November 2021, people working in care homes were required to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19, unless they had a medical exemption. It was due to be extended to patient-facing staff in the NHS at the beginning of April, meaning that workers would need to have their first vaccination by 3 February. But just before the deadline on 31 January, the government reversed its decision – however the policy remained in place for care home workers.

The government then held a short consultation, saying it intended to remove the requirement altogether because the widespread Omicron variant led to less severe illness and because the existing vaccines did not provide the longer-term protection hoped for against Covid-19.

It has now published the results of that consultation and its response:

In light of this latest scientific evidence and having considered the views received as part of the consultation … as well as an analysis of equalities impacts … the government will bring forward regulations to revoke vaccination as a condition of deployment.

The regulations will revoke the requirements that CQC registered persons only permit those who are vaccinated against COVID-19, unless otherwise exempt, to be deployed for the provision of a CQC-regulated activity in health and/or social care, and to enter CQC registered care home premises.

The government noted that 90% of the 90,000 respondents agreed with the plan to remove the requirement, with only 9% disagreeing.

A matter of conscience

Our chief executive Andrea Williams previously explained why making these vaccines mandatory for employment was an important freedom of conscience issue. She wrote:

…the legality of this mandate (according to the human rights laws our nation is committed to) comes down to the very same questions as many of our other cases and campaigns. If the government can force employers to dismiss workers who refuse to take a vaccine, it makes it easier for the government to overstep its mark elsewhere.

These measures have led a number of Christians to ask us for help at the Christian Legal Centre, which has sought to give appropriate assistance for the workplace issues these Christians have faced.

We are grateful that the government has lifted these restrictions so that our Christian brothers and sisters are able to work in these settings without violating their consciences.

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