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COVID-19 vaccination to become mandatory for optometrists working in hospitals and care homes

From April 2022, all healthcare workers within CQC-regulated care will be required to show they are fully vaccinated unless medically exempt

vaccine in a bottle
Pixabay/Spencer Davis

The Government has confirmed that COVID-19 vaccination will become a condition of employment for all frontline health and care workers, unless they are exempt.

The measures, which will be enforced from 1 April, 2022, will apply to all healthcare workers regulated by the Care Quality Commission in England, including hospital optometrists and domiciliary optometrists who work in care homes.

A statement from the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that among NHS workers, 92.8% have had their first dose and 89.9% have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Within social care, 83.7% of domiciliary care workers have had their first dose and 74.6% have had both doses.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid shared that the Government has a responsibility to give patients and staff the best possible protection against COVID-19.

“We have consulted closely with the sector and will introduce new regulations to ensure people working in healthcare are vaccinated from next spring,” he said.

The mandatory vaccination policy does not apply to COVID-19 booster vaccinations or flu jabs. However, the Government has highlighted that the policy will be kept under review.

As part of compiling its response to a consultation on mandatory vaccination measures, the AOP surveyed 1000 members for their views.

This feedback led the AOP to opt in favour of mandatory vaccination for health and social care staff.

Over half (57%) were in favour of mandatory vaccination with 37% against and 6% remaining unsure.