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Covid-19 and Flu Vaccinations: Health and Social Care Sector

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 9 September 2021

I wish to inform the House of the action the Government are taking to consider how to further improve uptake of covid-19 and flu vaccinations by those who work in our health and social care services.

Following a public consultation on making covid-19 vaccination a condition of deployment for those working in adult care homes, the Government informed the House on 17 June 2021 that covid-19 vaccination would be required of people entering a CQC registered adult care home, unless exempt, to protect vulnerable residents.

While residents in care homes are some of the most at risk from covid-19, the responses to this initial consultation made a clear case for extending this policy beyond care homes to other settings where vulnerable people receive care and treatment.

It is right that the Government strain every sinew to maximise the benefits of the vaccine and protect the most vulnerable as we return our freedoms and get back to a normal way of life.

The Government are therefore now undertaking a further public consultation on whether or not to make covid-19 vaccination and flu vaccination a condition of deployment for frontline health and care workers, to help safeguard the vulnerable.

While many of those working in health and social care sectors have taken up the offer of vaccination, it is crucial that this is consistent across services to safeguard vulnerable people, and that this high level is maintained as new people join the workforce.

Recent research has shown people infected with both flu and covid-19 are more than twice as likely to die as someone with covid-19 alone and nearly six times more likely than those with neither flu nor covid-19, so it is right that both are considered within the consultation.

These are complex and important issues and the consultation seeks to gather a wide range of perspectives from the public and across the health and care sectors about whether vaccination requirements should be introduced and how they could be implemented.

I will provide an update to the House, following the completion of the consultation.