The UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech, the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for use.
The Human Medicines Legislation has been amended to enable the temporary authorisation of Covid-19 vaccines once they meet a set of conditions to ensure product safety, quality and efficacy.
Acting in line with the Code
Administering the vaccine
All registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates (in England), including those on our temporary register, involved in the administration of any Covid-19 or flu vaccine must act in line with the requirements of the Code.
This means that they will need to:
- have the right knowledge and skills to vaccinate
- act within the law and in line with the best available evidence
- follow the national protocol and local policies in the nation where they practise, and
- balance the need to act in the best interests of people with the requirement to respect a person’s right to accept or refuse treatment.
Exercising your personal views appropriately
We recognise that, like anyone else, those on our register have their own personal views on the Covid-19 vaccine.
As the Code sets out, all registered nursing and midwifery professionals have:
- a duty to act in a way that puts the interests of those using heath and care services first and prioritises their care and safety, and
- a responsibility to uphold the reputation of their profession, so that people receiving care, other health and care professionals and the wider public, can have confidence in them.
- nurses, midwives and nursing associates must act in the best interest of people at all times. This includes the provision of informed consent, including giving information on known risks of any vaccination basing this on the best available evidence at that time and balancing the need to act in the best interests of people with the requirement to respect a person’s right to accept or refuse treatment.
In line with the Code, you should exercise your personal views appropriately - in a way which upholds professionalism and doesn’t cause upset or distress to others.
Vaccines for health and care staff
The Code and our standards make clear that professionals have a responsibility to maintain their own level of health. And that they should take all reasonable personal precautions to avoid potential health risks to colleagues and people receiving care.
All nurses, midwives and nursing associates, whether they decide to be vaccinated or not, need to be confident that measures are in place where they work to manage any risk of transmission, and they need to take appropriate steps themselves to reduce risks and prioritise the safety of people in their care.
Mandatory vaccinations for care home staff in England
In June 2021, following a public consultation, the government announced plans to introduce legislation requiring those working in CQC-registered care homes to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The new legislation means that from October 2021 (subject to parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16-week grace period) anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption.
This will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers deployed in the care home.
The government are also planning to launch a public consultation on whether to make Covid-19 and flu vaccination a condition of deployment in other health and care settings.
Supporting the vaccination programme
Each of the four nations of the UK has plans for vaccine delivery which may differ from each other. However, all four nations’ plans involve a mixture of delivery models, such as mobile teams to visit care homes, large sites at hospitals, and primary care-based delivery.
If you’re interested in supporting the vaccination programme, you can find out more about the various roles you could apply for in your nation:
If you’re not on our register
The vaccination programme includes a variety of roles, some of which do not require you to be on our register. Please check the relevant role description and act accordingly in regard to the registration requirements.
If you’re a student
It’s possible that some nations may want to provide practice learning experiences for student nurses, midwives and nursing associates which include the administration of Covid-19 or flu vaccines. If so, these students will be given appropriate education and training in line with their standards of proficiency.
Where to find more information
- England: Coronavirus - Clinicians considering a return to the NHS
- Wales: COVID-19 vaccination information - Public Health Wales (nhs.wales)
- Scotland: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance on offering support for vaccination and diagnostic testing
- PHE publishes COVID-19 vaccine guidance for health and social care workers - GOV.UK
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination information - NHS website