Mandatory Covid-19 vaccine is only for care home workers

26 July 2021
What was claimed

The mandatory Covid-19 vaccine has been passed through the House of Lords without an impact assessment having been carried out.

Our verdict

This is true, but applies only to the amendment to the Health and Social Care Act, which mandates that all care home workers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from November.

A post on Facebook claims that a law mandating the Covid-19 vaccine has been passed through the House of Lords without an impact assessment. 

This is true, but refers only to an amendment of the Health and Social Care Act which will make it a requirement for care service providers (for example, care home managers) to ensure workers entering care homes (necessarily including care workers) are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from November. This also applies to other workers who have been invited into a care home, such as hairdressers. 

There are some exemptions to this rule, such as people who are medically exempt due to an allergy to an ingredient in the vaccines or under the age of 18

Exemptions also apply to other groups of people, such as residents, their relatives and individuals providing emergency assistance, such as maintenance workers or emergency service personnel. 

This amendment was passed after being voted through the House of Commons and approved by the House of Lords, and it is now law. Baroness Wheeler, a Labour peer, tabled another amendment highlighting the fact that “a full impact assessment has not been published including analysis of the number of current staff who may not comply and the potential impact on care homes if care home staff become ineligible for work because they are not fully vaccinated or medically exempt”. 

The lack of an impact statement also prompted the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), an independent group who assess the quality of evidence and analysis used to inform regulatory proposals across a number of policy areas, to say the Department of Health and Social Care should have produced an assessment and presented it to the RPC for scrutiny. The RPC also said it should have been seen by ministers and presented to Parliament before it was debated in the House of Commons. 

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi had said at a meeting of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee on 13 July, that the impact assessment was being worked on and would hopefully be made available by the end of that month. 

During the debate on this in the Lords, Baroness Wheeler said that an impact statement had been provided, but not a more thorough impact assessment.

Update 6 October 2021

This article has been updated to reflect the latest government guidance on the new rules.

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