Vaccines: To Mandate Or Not To Mandate Care England Responds

Care England, responded to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes.

DHSC launched a five-week consultation on April 14, on whether amendments should be made to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 which means that older adult care home providers could only deploy those staff who have received the Covid-19 vaccination.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:

“Care England has been active in its support of the Government in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine and has continued to support its members to do everything they can to persuade residents and staff to have the vaccine with great success. The sector remains united in its support for the vaccine. The shared focus, regardless of the outcome of the consultation, must be to continue to promote the vaccine amongst all the social care sector and the NHS, not just care homes for older adults.”

Ensuring high levels of vaccination of people living and working in older adult care homes is an essential public health intervention given the heightened risk of Covid-19 infection and increased risk of illness and mortality. It is vital however to balance the argument of whether mandating the Covid-19 vaccine for adult social care staff will improve the level of protection to residents. Care England’s consultation response sought to examine both sides of this argument, whilst also examining the issues associated with bringing forward regulation.

Care England also has raised concern with the consultation process itself: the consultation period was only five weeks, as opposed to the typical 12-week period; the consultation also clashed with the pre-election period of sensitivity; the consultation was predominantly confined to a multiple-choice template; and there was limited space for expressing meaningful feedback and where there is, one is limited to 500 words.

Martin Green continues:

“If regulation is the vehicle of choice, it is essential for the issues associated with mandating the vaccine for adult social care staff to be comprehensively addressed prior to its introduction. There must be central guidance, funding and leadership in helping to support adult social care providers in implementing the regulation. In other words, there must appropriate infrastructure support.”