The news that all health and social care leaders have been awaiting was confirmed today – the mandatory vaccinations regulations have been made (The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2021) (the Regulations). This means that the Regulations have become the law and the 12-week grace period has begun.
The Regulations cover providers delivering CQC regulated activities, and apply to any person employed or otherwise engaged who has direct interactions with patients and service users 'for the purposes of the provision of' the regulated activity. For further information on how the Regulations will apply please see Matt Wort’s blog - Mandatory vaccination for all of health and social care - The new rules explained.
Particularly important dates to note are:
- 6 January – the Regulations were made and the 12-week grace period has begun.
- 3 February – the last date the first dose of the vaccination can be received to ensure the second dose can be administered before the end of the grace period (8 weeks period required between the first and second vaccination dose).
- 1 April – all staff in scope must be fully vaccinated or have secured a medical exemption.
We understand that the Government’s guidance will be published in the coming weeks detailing the scope of the policy and as well as updating the Q&A’s and producing digital assets and explainers for stakeholders and providers to use.
Providers need to act now however to formally address matters with unvaccinated staff before any notices of termination are served on those that refuse to be vaccinated and are not exempt. The process that providers will need to follow has been explained in my previous blog - Providers must act now - making vaccination a condition of deployment.
No doubt this will be a busy period for HR and operational teams to ensure that all services are appropriately prepared and staffed before 1 April. We continue to support many providers with their implementation strategy, and we remain positive that despite the difficulties in implementing these policies under significant time pressure, the sector will once again rise to the challenge.