Health and social care professionals in England will no longer be forced to get vaccinated against Covid-19, following widespread support in a consultation.
Covid-19 vaccinations became mandatory for care home personnel in November and were scheduled to be implemented for frontline NHS and wider social care staff in regulated settings on April 1.
Earlier this year, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that he considered vaccination requirements as a condition of deployment were “no longer reasonable.”
The Government has indicated that on March 15, the laws requiring vaccination as a condition of employment in health and social care would be repealed.
It said that when the decision to make it a legal necessity was made, Delta was the predominant viral form, but has since been supplanted by the less severe Omicron variety.
According to the Government, 90% of respondents to a public survey held last month favoured repealing the legal requirement.
Mr Javid stated in a written statement on Tuesday that the policy was “correct at the time it was adopted, but is no longer proportionate in light of the most recent clinical evidence regarding the current Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is intrinsically less severe than Delta, and the high rate of vaccination across the population.”
Despite the shift, he continued, he still views vaccination as a “professional duty for health and care personnel, as well as individuals who work in the health and social care sectors.”
He said that 92% of the NHS workforce and 95% of care home personnel had got two doses of the Covid-19 vaccination, while 89% of home or domiciliary care staff have received at least one dose.
He stated that the government is “dedicated to collaborating with the health and social care sectors to engage people who have not yet made the affirmative choice to be vaccinated.”