The Prime Minister is under mounting pressure from Conservative MPs and leaders in the health and social care realm to delay or scrap the implementation of the covid vaccine mandate which at the time of writing (24th Jan 2022) is due to come in in April 2022.
The main reason that this mandate is coming under fire is the undeniably huge staff shortages in the health and social care sector. There is an argument that it would be detrimental to the NHS waiting times if the mandate is imposed.
Plan B restrictions are due to lift now Omicron cases are declining. However, it is now in question whether the government’s mandatory coronavirus vaccine policy is a proportionate response to the pandemic, now that it’s becoming more of an endemic.
The new regulations that are due to come into place on 1st April 2022 are the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2022.
These regulations would see Covid vaccinations being a condition of deployment for everyone in a health and social care setting in England, who are engaged or employed in a CQC–regulated activity, this includes those who are employed to undertake personal care or direct treatment as part of a CQC–regulated activity, who have face-to-face, direct contact with service users or patients.
Non-clinical ancillary workers who enter CQC-regulated areas in their work will also fall under these regulations. This includes receptionists, porters cleaners etc. There’s a 12 week grace period in which affected workers can provide evidence that they are either exempt or fully vaccinated, from 6 January 2022–31 March 2022. Workers face being dismissed from their roles if they cannot be redeployed.
Therefore, workers must have had their first dose of the vaccine by 3rd February 2022 to accommodate the eight weeks between doses.
Because of the looming deadline, MPs and leaders of health and social care who oppose the mandates are now putting pressure on the PM to do a U-turn on the policy.
The Guardian reports that the PM told backbench Tory MPs on Friday he was “looking again” at the mandate. This could end in the regulations being cancelled or delayed, however, at the time of writing we are simply unsure.
In conclusion, employers who fall under the new proposed legal requirements should continue in the preparation to comply with the regulations coming in in April, but keep an ear to the ground on developments. We will update as the situation develops.
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