The National Booking System (NBS) for COVID-19 vaccinations is set to reopen to frontline social care workers after a temporary closure.
In a letter to local authority CEOs, GP practices and ICS leads, the NHS confirmed that the self-referral route for frontline eligible health and social care workers will be reinstated on the NBS by Monday, April 19.
The news comes after the government chose to close the service for all health and care staff on April 1, a move described as “unfathomable” by sector leaders.
Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum, said at the time: “Far from addressing any problems in the take up of vaccination amongst care staff, the government has instead created them. Our research has repeatedly shown that access to the vaccine is one of the main barriers for staff take up. With that knowledge under your belt, the decision to remove opportunities for access must swiftly and decisively be reversed.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care has launched a consultation on making coronavirus jabs a condition of employment for care home staff.
The five-week consultation will seek views on the proposal, any potential impact it could have on staffing and safety, how it could be implemented and who could be exempt.
Scientists advising the government say that 80% of staff and 90% of residents need to be vaccinated, in order to provide the minimum acceptable level of protection against outbreaks of COVID-19.
But only 53% of older adult homes in England are currently meeting this threshold.