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Equality and Human Rights Commission supports mandatory Covid vaccination for care home staff

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Ministers are considering changing the law to make vaccination a condition of deployment for people in some professions that come into regular close contact with elderly and vulnerable people at high risk from the coronavirus.

In a submission to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it was “reasonable to require” care home workers who work directly with older and disabled people to be vaccinated.

The EHRC is also likely to make a similar recommendation about healthcare workers, after the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, suggested over the weekend that NHS staff could face mandatory jabs, too, as some patients were “being infected in hospital”.

A spokesperson for the EHRC said mandating vaccines for care home staff offered a way of protecting older residents who were most at risk. “This would support their right to a private and family life, to health, to live independently, as well as reducing the risk to workers,” they said, adding that a hepatitis B vaccination is already an essential requirement in some NHS Trusts.

However, the EHRC stopped short of supporting a vaccination mandate for other employers. The EHRC said mandatory vaccination could risk further excluding certain demograpgic groups “from access to employment”, so a proportionate approach with important safeguards was needed.

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