Never in our lifetimes have we listened so keenly to the announcements of Public Health England (PHE).
The news from PHE last week that both the Pfizer and the AstraZeneca vaccines might protect us from not only against contracting the virus, but also against passing it on, is as welcome as the longer evenings and the promise of summer.
For most of us, this news could bring closer the time when we can live more "normally"; for employers, especially in the health and social care sector, it calls into question the issue of the "no jab, no job" approach. This news could be a real "game-changer". As long as it was unclear whether the vaccines prevented transmission, it was a more risky route for employers to insist on employees being vaccinated. However, following this news, if vaccinations do indeed make a workplace safer for both employees and people that you support, then the argument that it is reasonable to require employees to be vaccinated is strengthened.
Employers will still need to be mindful of any employee who refuses to be vaccinated and their reasons and whether they are protected under the Equality Act 2010. This is therefore not the green light for enforced vaccinations across the board. It is however welcomed news for those providers that have been thinking about introducing a "no jab, no job" approach - particularly for new recruits.
Planning and implementing the new "no jab, no job" approach recruitment policy, can be tricky - apart from the Equality Act 2010 obligations, employers also need to consider the impact any such policy could have on their GDPR obligations.
To help with this process, we have produced a Mandatory Vaccination Decision Guidance and Matrix; this document provides practical guidance for employers when addressing the risks and benefits of mandatory vaccinations and provides a key decision matrix to apply when rolling out vaccination programmes. Please do contact me for more information.
Those given a first dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines - and who became infected three weeks later - were between 38% and 49% less likely to pass the virus on than unvaccinated people, PHE found.