The Government has announced that mandatory vaccinations will be revoked as of 15 March 2022.
Vaccination Mandate Revoked
On 31 January 2022, the government announced its intention to revoke the regulations making coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination a condition of deployment in health and social care, subject to consultation and parliamentary process.
The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has confirmed the government has concluded consultation to U-turn mandatory vaccines for NHS Health and Social Care workers. The Government has faced mounting pressure to halt the mandate for health workers in England to be double vaccinated by 1 April 2022, with the first jab required no later than Thursday 4 February 2022. However, this deadline is no longer applicable. The ”no jab, no job” policy was met with much controversy as it is reported that around 77,000 NHS workers are unvaccinated. The policy was accompanied by strong fears that it will lead the sector into a further major staffing shortage.
Tribunal case found vaccine dismissal to be fair
This is following a recent Employment Tribunal decision where a care assistant who worked at a nursing home was dismissed because she refused to have the vaccine. This was prior to the legal requirement for care-workers or individuals entering a care home to be fully vaccinated unless a medical exemption applied. The business in question was a small family run care home for dementia patients. Due to outbreaks at the care home, they planned for their staff to get vaccinated. The care assistant initially refused because of safety reasons and later stated in her disciplinary hearing that she would not get it for religious reasons. From the employer’s perspective, the family-run home was under pressure because their insurers could no longer provide public liability insurance for covid related risks. Owing to this and the care assistant’s reasons, the employer then dismissed the care assistant who then submitted claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal.
The Tribunal found in favour of the employers as they found the vaccine mandate at the care home to be a “reasonable management instruction” given the recent deaths of vulnerable residents and outbreaks in the care home. The Tribunal held that the case did not interfere with the care assistance’s human rights.
Latest COVID-19 vaccine uptake
Data collected for the NHS shows that over 1.45 million (95%) NHS trust staff have received at least one dose, with 1.4 million (92%) staff having received 2 doses.
The legal requirement for health and social care staff to be double jabbed will be removed from 15 March. However, the Government has still suggested that those who remain unvaccinated have a professional responsibility to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and they will continue to seek to engage with those who are yet to make the positive choice to be vaccinated.