Vaccines and testing

We are working to ensure the government’s testing and vaccination programme prioritises all forms of supported housing, for both residents and staff, and to clarify how these will be delivered in practice. We have the support of MHCLG in this work.

After the government’s winter coronavirus plan was announced in November 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) set out plans in early December 2020 for the roll out of vaccinations across the country.

Priority for vaccinations will be given according to age (and health condition from 65 years of age and below). There will be a community rollout to help those who find it difficult to travel to vaccination centres.

Staff and residents will be able to decide whether they receive the vaccine and providers will need to assess what this means for their working arrangements. The government has set out its priorities for targeted testing.

New operational guidance on testing and vaccination, to be set up by mid-January, now includes frontline social care workers directly working with vulnerable people who need care and support in any setting including supported housing. NHS Trusts are being asked to work with local authorities to deliver tests and vaccines to frontline social care workers. We recommend that supported housing providers contact their local authorities to make sure they are aware of this directive and are included in the rollout.

We are now undertaking a piece of work to clarify how testing and vaccine delivery will take place in practice, so that we can both share experiences to help other housing associations make the case to their local authority, and so that we can raise any delivery issues with government officials.

If you have already been contacted by your local authority to deliver testing or vaccines, please get in touch to share an example of your experience.

Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care have also produced information on the vaccine that will be useful to supported and retirement housing providers looking to prepare staff and residents for receiving the vaccine, including guidance, leaflets and consent forms.

Who to speak to

Sue Ramsden, Policy Leader