The RCN strongly recommends all members are vaccinated as soon as they can be. It is considered best practice to protect you, your patients, and clients, as well as friends and family. The vaccine reduces the individual’s risk of severe illness, it will also reduce the chance of you contracting the infection and thereby passing infection to others who are more vulnerable to serious disease as is evident from the emerging evidence from COVID-19 vaccine surveillance reports
It is important that nursing staff have easy access to the vaccines they need during the working day and have up-to-date information, so they can advise patients and the public on vaccination.
We have been clear that making vaccination compulsory could significantly undermine these approaches.
In January 2022, the RCN called on the Health Secretary to delay the implementation of the new law in light of major staffing pressures.
In England, staff working in CQC regulated nursing and care homes who are providing nursing or personal care, are now subject to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 that came into force on 11 November 2021. These make it a legal requirement for staff to be vaccinated as a condition of their deployment to work.
The government have announced, following further consultation, that this legislation will be extended to include all frontline staff in CQC regulated healthcare provision. This includes all NHS and independent health care services. Staff must be vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines (unless a medical exemption applies) as a condition of deployment. It is expected that this will come into force from 1 April 2022, as such all staff will need to have had their first dose of vaccine by 3 February 2022 so they can be fully vaccinated by 1 April 2022. There are further resources and information on this from NHS England and Improvement.
The questions and answers below are intended to provide further information and assistance.