Mandatory vaccinations for healthcare staff

AOP consultation response on mandatory vaccinations for health and care workers

A vaccination being administered

We’ve now responded to the Government consultation on proposals for mandating COVID-19 and flu vaccinations for frontline health and social care workers in England.

During September, we surveyed members in England on the proposals to inform the consultation response and more than 1000 members took part in the survey.  

Representing feedback from our members to Government, we have opted in favour of mandatory vaccination for health and social care staff. 

As a part of the primary healthcare family, optical teams have been given many of the same protections as frontline healthcare staff such as PPE and early access to the vaccine. We believe, alongside the majority of our members, that this should be no different and therefore also support this policy being extended to community optometrists who provide eyecare under the GOS contract. 

Under the current proposal, mandatory vaccination will apply to health and care staff in England, who work for organisations that are regulated by the CQC. Among optometrists, it only covers those working in hospitals at this time, but the consultation also included a question about extending the requirement to other patient-facing healthcare workers.

The AOP response is based on the views of 1090 members. Of those responses, over half (57%) were in favour of mandatory vaccination with 37% against, 6% remained unsure. The vast majority (96%) of those in favour of mandatory vaccination also supported the policy being extended to optometrists providing sight care under the GOS contract.     

The Government consultation closed on 22 October 2021.