Professional bodies share vaccination recommendations

In a jointly-signed letter, regulatory, government and professional representative bodies have provided recommendations for the vaccination of healthcare professionals

Vaccine in arm
Pexels/Gustavo Fring

Representative bodies across optometry, regulatory and government organisations have signed a joint letter to the profession highlighting the importance of the vaccinations against COVID-19.

The letter recommends professionals in patient-facing roles should be vaccinated, and provides advice where a professional is not fully vaccinated.

Thanking optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical businesses for the “huge efforts” made to provide patient care during the pandemic, 14 representative bodies from across the UK and including the AOP, signed the letter which also acknowledges that many healthcare professionals are already vaccinated.

The jointly-signed letter seeks to emphasise the importance of vaccination against COVID-19, and also provides a reminder of the “personal and professional responsibilities” of healthcare professionals under the General Optical Council’s Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians and Standards for Optical Businesses.

The letter illustrates a “strong recommendation” from the regulatory, government and professional representative bodies, that “colleagues in patient-facing roles should be vaccinated in line with each nation’s public health advice,” and encourages employers to support the effort by highlighting the benefits of being vaccinated to their employees.

Where a healthcare professional is not fully vaccinated, due to a medical exemption or other reason, “they must ensure that appropriate procedures are in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission to patients and colleagues,” the bodies said.

The advice in the letters outlines that this should include conducting risk assessments, following infection prevention and control measures, self-testing and not attending work when unwell, in addition to “taking precautions when caring for those who may be more vulnerable due to age or clinical risk factors.”

Through the letter, the representative bodies also highlighted the evidence base behind the COVID-19 vaccines and the authorisation of the vaccines by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. 

“Vaccination is considered to be among the safest, most effective and evidence-based approaches to help protect people from infectious diseases,” the representative bodies said, adding: “The evidence from clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines approved for UK use shows these to be safe and effective, and over 10 billion doses have been given worldwide, providing a very high degree of protection.”

The representative bodies urged professionals in patient-facing roles who are unsure about whether to have the primary vaccine course or booster to speak to their employer, professional body or GP, or access public health advice online.

The joint letter can be read in full online.

More information and guidance on COVID-19 can be found on the AOP website.