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Mandatory COVID vaccine for healthcare workers

On 9 November 2021, the Government announced that frontline healthcare workers in England will be required by law to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect patients.

The Regulations, subject to parliamentary approval will come into force on 1 April 2022.

This new law will apply to all dental practices in England, undertaking CQC regulated activities. This means that staff and contractors who have face-to-face contact with patients will be required by law to get vaccinated and produce evidence of their vaccination status.

Some exemptions will be given. For example, where there are clinical reasons why someone should not be vaccinated, for staff under 18 years of age, where staff do not have contact with patients, or staff who are a participant in a clinical trial investigating COVID-19 vaccination. We are seeking clarification on what such clinical reasons might be.

This means that unvaccinated individuals, unless exempt, must have received their first dose no later than 3 February 2022, in order to receive their second dose on 31 March 2022.

The deadline of 1 April 2022 gives members time to prepare. In the meantime, we suggest members to start informal conversations with staff who have yet to be vaccinated to understand any concerns they may have.

For those who may be medically exempt, we advise that you obtain the necessary medical evidence as early as possible.

We are reviewing the regulations and currently putting together a package of advice. We are drafting a series of template letters to help our members manage and communicate this process with staff.

This is a developing situation, and we will keep you updated.