The Government is encouraging frontline workers in health and social care to be vaccinated because they are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19. They are also often working with the most vulnerable to this devastating disease. NHS England figures for the number of vaccinations up to 8th July show that 90 per cent of NHS workers have received at least one dose of vaccine, however that still means 1 in 10 NHS workers has not been vaccinated.
A range of options are being considered to encourage people to receive the vaccine. As you may be aware, the Government recently consulted on making COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for care home workers and this will now proceed and be put into law. The responses to the consultation made a case for extending this policy beyond care homes to other settings where people vulnerable to COVID-19 receive care, such as domiciliary care and wider healthcare settings.
Based on this evidence, the Government will launch a further public consultation on whether or not to make COVID-19 and flu vaccination a condition of deployment in healthcare and wider social care settings as well. This is a complex issue and so it is right that the Government is looking for a wide range of perspectives from across the health and care sector about whether this should be introduced and how it could be implemented. I therefore would encourage you to take part in this consultation when it opens.
Carers have a duty of care towards those that they look after and it is right that the Government is looking at taking robust action to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19. It is also important to note that mandatory vaccination of those with a duty of care already exists in the form of the requirement for surgeons to have a vaccine against hepatitis B.