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16th September 2021

Temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes

People working or volunteering in care homes who have a medical reason why they are unable to have a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to self-certify that they meet the medical exemption criteria.

The details revealed today, state that care home workers who are exempt will need to sign the form and give it to their employer as proof of their temporary exemption status.

This temporary self-certification process has been introduced for a short period prior to the launch of the new NHS COVID Pass system which is expected to go live soon, and just a day before care home workers should have received their first dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, to ensure they are fully vaccinated by 11 November - when new regulations come into force.

The regulations require anyone entering a care home in England to be fully vaccinated or exempt.

Once the NHS COVID Pass system is launched, care home workers will need to apply for a formal medical exemption through that process. This temporary self-certification will expire 12 weeks after the NHS COVID Pass system is launched.

In a letter to care providers on 15th September, Claire Armstrong, Director of Adult Social Care Delivery states ‘as of 9 September, 90.4% of care home workers have now had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 82.2% of care home staff now fully vaccinated.’

It added that the Department of Health and Social Care has been working to ensure that people who are not able to get the vaccine for medical reasons are not disadvantaged.

Who is exempt?

Examples of medical exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination could include individuals:

  • Receiving end of life care where vaccination is not in the individual’s interests
  • With learning disabilities or autistic individuals, or with a combination of impairments which result in the same distress, who find vaccination and testing distressing because of their condition and cannot be achieved through reasonable adjustments such as provision of an accessible environment
  • Who have had adverse reactions to the first dose (for example, myocarditis)

Time-limited exemptions will also be available for those with short-term medical conditions (for example, people receiving hospital care or receiving medication which may interact with the vaccination). A time-limited exemption is also available for pregnant women should they choose to take it.

Individuals that have received a COVID-19 vaccination abroad can also self-certify as medically exempt. This is because it is not clinically appropriate for them to be vaccinated in the UK if they have already received a partial or full course of vaccination overseas.

For further guidance visit:

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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