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Mandatory vaccinations for care home workers

The Government has confirmed that from 11 November everyone who enters a care home, including optometrists, must be double-vaccinated

needle and arm
Pixabay/Katja Fuhlert

The Domiciliary Eyecare Committee (DEC) has updated its guidance after the Government announced that, from 11 November, everyone entering a care home must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The double-vaccination requirement applies to all care home workers and anyone visiting a care home, unless they are exempt under the regulations.

Visiting professionals, including optometrists and dispensing opticians, are subject to the vaccination requirement.

In its updated guidance, the DEC advises that optometrists and dispensing opticians working in care homes should accept the offer of winter flu and COVID-19 vaccinations unless there are medical reasons not to.

The committee also recommends that optometrists and dispensing opticians working in care homes perform a lateral flow test every 72 hours, ensure that they have sufficient personal protective equipment, maintain social distancing and maximise ventilation.

Professionals visiting care homes should also avoid unnecessary contact with staff and other care home residents.

A statement from co-chairs of the DEC, Dawn Roberts and Gordon Ilett, noted that it has been a challenging time balancing the eye health needs of domiciliary patients with the need to keep care home residents and staff safe.

“Vision and eye health are so important, especially for vulnerable people who cannot leave home,” they emphasised.

Eye care professionals who visit care homes should have their first vaccination by 16 September at the latest to ensure that they are fully vaccinated by the time that the rules come into force.