Exemptions to the Mandatory Covid Vaccine in Health and Wider Social Care Settings
Croner-i answers more of your questions regarding the mandatory Covid vaccine for health care workers, informing you of any exceptions to the mandate.
Will there be any exemptions?
Some individuals will be exempt from the regulations:
- Those who are under the age of 18.
- Those who are clinically exempt from covid vaccination.
- Those who are taking part, or have previously taken part, in a clinical trial for a covid vaccine.
- Those who do not have direct, face-to-face contact with a service user, for example, those providing care remotely, such as through triage or telephone consultations or managerial staff working in sites away from patient areas.
There will be no exemption for those who refuse vaccination due to religious beliefs.
What is covered under medical exemption?
Based on the processes previously implemented for care home workers, some individuals are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons. In these situations, staff are able to apply for a permanent medical exemption. This includes the following:
- People receiving end-of-life care where vaccination is not in the person’s best interests.
- People with learning disabilities or autistic individuals, or people with a combination of impairments where vaccination cannot be provided through reasonable adjustments.
- A person with severe allergies to all currently available vaccines.
- Those who have had an adverse reaction to the first dose (eg myocarditis).
Short-term exemptions will be available for those with short-term medical conditions (for example, people receiving treatment or medication which may interact with the vaccine, or those who contracted Covid so had to wait 28 days before getting the vaccine) and as an option that some pregnant women may choose to take.
For pregnant women, the exemption expires 16 weeks post-partum. This will allow them to become fully vaccinated after birth.
How do individuals apply for medical exemption?
To apply for a permanent medical exemption, staff should phone the NHS Covid Pass service on 119 and ask for an application form. They will need to give their name, date of birth, NHS number (if known) and the name of their GP/clinician. If they are eligible, they will receive an application form by post. This form should be completed by the individual and submitted to their GP or relevant clinician for review. Individuals will automatically be sent the results of their application by post 2–3 weeks after applying. The decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Pregnant women who choose to use the medical exemption can use their MATB1 form as evidence of their exemption. They do not need to phone the NHS Covid Pass Service.
How do employees evidence their medical exemption or vaccination status?
Vaccination status will be evidenced through the NHS Covid App, NHS Webpage or NHS Letter; EU Digital Covid Certificate; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card; or a certificate in English, French or Spanish issued by the competent health authority. Pregnant women can use their MATB1 form as evidence.
Those who are given a permanent medical exemption, can use the NHS Covid Pass, either digitally or with an NHS letter to show evidence of this.
The NHS Covid Pass will look and work the same for people with medical exemptions as it will for people who are fully vaccinated. The pass will not show that someone has a medical exemption. Employers only need to receive the Pass to allow their staff to continue in their role regardless of whether they got it due to vaccination or exemption.
The rules will allow a service provider to process information provided by a person wanting to prove their vaccination status, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.