Mandatory Covid-19 vaccination legislation for health and care staff in England

On the 31 January 2022, the Government announced their intention to reconsider mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of deployment in England. Following a short consultation, subject to a parliamentary vote, it’s expected that existing legislative requirements will end.

During this time, the legislation that applied to nurses, midwives and nursing associates, or anyone in a CQC registered care home in England will not be enforced.

Employers have been advised that the deadline for having a first vaccination will also no longer apply.

Once the Government has completed their consultation and removed the legislation, we’ll update this area of the website with more information.

In light of these changes, we’d still advise all nurses, midwives and nursing associates to read our information on vaccinations below.

Authorised vaccines

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.

The UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has authorised a number of Covid-19 vaccines for use.

Check the MHRA website for the latest on authorised vaccines.

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 health 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.

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.

While we do not consider that solely turning down a Covid-19 vaccination is a basis for a Fitness to Practise referral, where concerns are raised with us about views being expressed inappropriately by someone on our register, for example, extreme anti-vax views, we would consider whether further action is needed.

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 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.

Read our statement on Covid-19 vaccinations

Supporting the vaccination programme

Each of the four nations of the UK has plans for vaccine delivery involving 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.

Information for students

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.

Joining our register

If you’ve successfully completed your approved pre-registration programme and have met the standards of proficiency for safe and effective practice, you will be eligible to apply to join our register.

Where to find more information