COVID-19 vaccination for health and social care workers
Vaccination is the most effective protection against COVID-19 infection and serious illness.
Working in health and social care means you are at greater risk of COVID-19 infection, therefore you have been prioritised and are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.
Why is it important for health and social care workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Workers in health and social care have among the greatest risks from COVID-19 due to their greater contact with people and therefore exposure to COVID-19. This includes some care professions with twice the rate of death from COVID-19 compared to peers. Read more about the higher rates of COVID-19 among health and social care workers on the Office for National Statistic's website.
Many who work in health and social care are face greater risk of COVID-19 due to characteristics beyond their control, such as minority ethnic heritage, lower income or having a health condition. These health inequalities are avoidable and unfair, so vaccination helps address this inequality.
Getting vaccinated will also help protect your family and loved ones, as well as others you come in contact with.
What if I have questions or am unsure?
It is understandable to have concerns. You can find information on most COVID-19 vaccine concerns on the South East London Clinical Commissioning Group website. You can also speak to your line manager or GP to discuss any individual health concerns.
It may also be helpful to hear experiences of others:
- Read what Lewisham residents who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine have to say about their experiences.
- Listen to Aarthi, a trainee GP at the Jenner Centre in Forest Hill, share her thoughts on the vaccination programme on YouTube.
- Listen to health and social care professionals talk in other languages about the COVID-19 vaccine on the NHS website.
Will I be made to have the vaccine?
It is not mandatory to have a COVID-19 vaccine and it is your right to make an informed decision.
Many trusted sources recommend getting the COVID-19 vaccine for your safety, including the Royal College of Nursing and British Association for Social Work.
You can read COVID-19 vaccine advice from the Royal College of Nursing on their website. You can read the British Association for Social Work's statement on the COVID-19 vaccine on their website.
The COVID-19 vaccine is also supported by major faith groups:
- Read the British Islamic Society's position on the COVID-19 vaccine on their website.
- Read the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wale' statement on the COVID-19 vaccine on their website.
- Read Churches Together in England's statement on the COVID-19 vaccine on their website.
- Read about Sikh leaders getting the COVID-19 vaccine on the AP News website.
Is COVID vaccination a condition of deployment for health and social care workers?
The government has announced the outcome of the consultation on Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment (VCOD).
Following the public consultation, the government has taken the decision to revoke VCOD for health and social care workers. Further information can be found on GOV.UK:
- Revoking vaccination as a condition of deployment across all health and social care: consultation response
The regulations will revoke the requirements that CQC registered persons only permit those who are vaccinated against COVID-19, unless otherwise exempt, to be deployed for the provision of a CQC-regulated activity in health and/or social care, and to enter CQC registered care home premises.
The regulations came into force on 15 March to provide certainty for employers, their staff, patients and people who receive care or support ahead of 1 April when regulations extending the requirement to health and wider social care were due to come into force.
How can I get vaccinated?
Some health and social care workplaces are offering vaccination on site to staff – speak to your line manager.
Frontline health and social care workers can book the COVID-19 vaccine on the NHS website or by calling 119 free of charge. You will be able to arrange a convenient date, time and location for your COVID-19 vaccination.
The costs of travelling to get vaccinated will be paid for, ask your line manager to arrange the payment.