Care home workers in England are required to be fully vaccinated by November 11, with Thursday the last day to get the first jab
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Care home staff will be able to temporarily self-certify that they are medically exempt from getting the Covid jab, according to last-minute tweaks to official guidance.
Staff in England will be required to be fully vaccinated from November 11 – which means today is the last chance to get their first dose in time for the deadline.
But new advice slipped out on Wednesday said workers could temporarily self-certify that they have an exemption from having the Covid vaccine.
These include those with learning disabilities or autism, people receiving end-of-life care or those with severe allergies.
Ministers want to limit the risk of the virus to vulnerable people in care homes by ensuring staff are vaccinated.
Some 90.4% of care home workers had received their a first dose and 82.2% were fully vaccinated by September 9, according to Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) figures.
In a letter to care home providers, DHSC’s Director of Adult Social Care Delivery Claire Armstrong said: “On a temporary basis, from today, people working or volunteering in care homes who have a medical reason why they are unable to have a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to self-certify that they meet the medical exemption criteria, using the forms attached to this letter.
“Care home workers who are exempt will need to sign the form attached to this letter and give this to their employer as proof of their temporary exemption status.
“This temporary self-certification process has been introduced for a short period prior to the launch of the new NHS COVID Pass system which will go live imminently.”
This grace period will continue for 12 weeks after the launch of the new NHS Covid Pass – which has not yet been launched.
Union leaders accused the Government of an eleventh hour “fudge” to the decision to make vaccination mandatory for care home staff.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: “GMB has been calling on the Government to reverse their appalling decision to force vaccination on social care key workers from the start.
“We warned it could cause a mass exodus in a sector already facing a 170,000 staffing black hole.
“Now, at the eleventh hour, they’ve fudged it. It’s cowardly, incompetent and inhumane.”
She said many carers had spent months “sick with stress” and fearing for their jobs due to the Government’s refusal to back down on the plan.
The Government has launched a six-week consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment for frontline NHS staff.
Health Minister Helen Whately suggested staff who refuse the jab could be moved to back office jobs.
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