We are working to ensure that the government’s vaccination programme continues to prioritise all forms of supported housing, both for residents and staff, and works in the best way possible for housing associations.
We worked with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and successfully made the case for all public-facing housing association staff to be considered as part of the Phase 2 vaccination prioritisation process.
Below we’ve summarised the latest information on the vaccination programme that’s relevant to housing associations.
- Vaccinations for homeless people or rough sleepers: On 11 March, the government announced that local teams could offer vaccinations to people in their area who are homeless or rough sleepers. These people were given priority alongside cohort six in Phase 1 of the vaccine deployment programme. The Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that local teams take a ‘pragmatic approach’ to the dosing schedule considering the likelihood of follow up for these groups. Housing associations should contact their local teams to discuss how this can work most effectively.
- Vaccinations in wider settings: On 13 April, the JCVI confirmed that the best way to protect individuals working in jobs with potentially higher risk of exposure to coronavirus was to use an age-based programme because it is simple to deliver. Every person in the UK over the age of 18 is now eligible for a vaccine, as was planned for Phase 2 of the vaccination programme.
- Compulsory vaccinations: On 16 June, the government announced that vaccinations will be compulsory for staff working in all care homes in England registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This means that, from October, all staff directly employed by a care home or employed through an agency (including volunteers) will need to be fully vaccinated with both doses as a condition of deployment, unless they have a medical exemption. More details on the implications of this decision can be found in our update. We are working with the government to feed back on the implications of this decision for housing associations.
- Resources and guidance: Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care have set up a campaign resource centre and produced information on the vaccine that will be useful to providers needing to prepare staff and residents for receiving the vaccine, including guidance, leaflets and consent forms. The Royal Society for Public Health are also offering a Level 2 Award in Encouraging Vaccination Uptake which may be of use for housing associations.
If you would like to find out more about testing, either for your residents or staff, please have a look at our dedicated resource.