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Everyone working in care homes to be fully vaccinated

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The rules will come into force in October The rules will come into force in October

MPs have approved compulsory vaccinations for care home staff in England, despite vocal opposition from some Conservatives.

From October, anyone working in a Care Quality Commission-registered care home in England must have two vaccine doses unless they have a medical exemption, after the House of Commons approved the regulations by 319 votes to 246.

‘Over the last year and a half, covid-19 has sadly taken many thousands of lives, particularly the lives of older people and those with underlying health conditions, and particularly the lives of those who need the kind of care received in a care home,’ said Care Minister Helen Whately,’ speaking in the debate.

‘There have been more than 40,000 deaths among care home residents. They were mothers and fathers, grans and grandads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Sadly, we have lost some of our dedicated care workers, too: despite all the efforts that have been made by care homes and their staff, local authorities and by us in Government to keep covid out, despite personal protective equipment, despite testing, despite isolation.’

Read more: Why mandatory vaccination for care home staff makes sense

The new rules will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers deployed in the care home. Those coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors will also have to follow the new regulations, unless they have a medical exemption.

The vote proved controversial to some, who said not enough time was allotted to the debate to discuss potential ramifications to human rights.

‘If there's uncertainty, share the uncertainty with the House,’ said former minister Mark Harper.

‘It isn't good enough to expect us to vote on something that is difficult and controversial and complicated, and not share the information with the House that the minister has at her disposal. It is an abuse. It's not good enough.’

Read more: New Health and Care Bill introduced in Parliament to support integrated care

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