Mandatory Covid-19 vaccination for staff and professional visitors to care homes will end on 15 March, the government announced today.
The decision also means regulations that would have introduced a requirement for staff in regulated home and other care services to be double jabbed from April will also be scrapped.
The announcement came after the measures received overwhelming support in a short consultation.
Care providers and unions have long demanded that the government drop mandatory vaccination due to its impact on a sector already suffering with mounting workforce shortages.
The government had estimated that 37,000 staff may leave the care home sector as a result of the policy’s implementation last November, but today said that losses had been far less than feared. Between 20 July and 29 December 2021, the care home workforce fell by 19,300, though this reflects the impact of new recruits, said the Department of Health and Social Care.
The DHSC received over 90,000 responses to its consultation, with 87% respondents strongly supporting revoking mandatory vaccination and a further 3% backing it more mildly.
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid had proposed the U-turn on compulsion at the end of January, on the grounds that population immunity was higher than at the time the policy was introduced and the now dominant Omicron variant was less severe than the previous Delta strain of the coronavirus.