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Carers can self-certify that they have a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccine

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

The Department of Health has issued guidance that carers can temporarily self-certify that they have a medical exemption and that they meet the criteria for not being able to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Exemptions include: terminal illness, a learning difficulty, autism or allergy to vaccine.

Regulations were approved by Parliament on 22 July 2021 to make vaccination a condition of deployment for staff working in CQC-regulated care homes in England, unless they have a medical exemption. A 16-week grace period was put in place to ensure staff who haven’t been vaccinated could take up the vaccine before the regulations come into force on 11 November 2021.

As of 9 September, 90.4% of care home workers have now had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 82.2% of care home staff now fully vaccinated. The temporary self-certification process has been introduced for a short period prior to the launch of the new NHS COVID Pass system which will go live imminently. Once the NHS COVID Pass system is launched, care home workers will need to apply for a formal medical exemption through that process. This temporary self-certification will expire 12 weeks after the NHS COVID Pass system is launched.

The form makes it clear that providing false information about being exempt may result in disciplinary action from the employer.

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