Tuesday 14th September saw the latest press conference held by Boris Johnson, this time to discuss the winter plans to deal with COVID-19 in England. Amongst the information provided was the go ahead for Covid booster vaccines to be used to boost protection amongst certain sectors of the population.
Who will need a Covid booster vaccine?
Current advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) states that the following people will be eligible for a Covid booster vaccine:
- Those living in residential care homes for older adults
- Over 50’s
- Younger adults aged 16-49 with health conditions which put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, and adult carers
- Frontline health and care workers
- Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
This will be given in most cases as a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
When will I be offered the Covid booster vaccine?
People will be offered the Covid booster vaccine at least 6 months after the second dose of their previous set of vaccination.
When will the rollout of Covid booster vaccine begin?
It is expected that the rollout of the Covid booster vaccine will start during September 2021, with some expecting it to be as soon as next week.
Some of the first people to receive the original round of Covid vaccine are nearing or have passed 6 months since their second dose. So, in line with recommendations from the JCVI that booster jabs be given at least 6 months after the second dose, some people are now becoming eligible for their booster vaccine.
Will the rollout of the COVID booster vaccine impact employers or employees?
We know this has been a difficult time for businesses with changing rules relating to COVID -19, but the rollout of the Covid booster vaccine is unlikely to impact employers or employees too much.
Self – isolation
Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and/or receives a positive test result will still be required to self-isolate. This is regardless of whether you have had no vaccine, one dose, two doses or the Covid booster vaccine dose.
There is therefore no change to self-isolation requirements because of the announcement that the Covid booster vaccine rollout will go ahead.
If you have not be vaccinated, you may also need to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19. Read the full rules on when to self-isolate on the NHS website.
Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria for the Covid booster vaccine will be able to receive it at least 6 months after their second dose of original vaccination. There are again no current plans to make this mandatory as with the original vaccination.
There is however discussion ongoing around vaccination of healthcare and social care workers. A consultation was launched on the 9th September looking at making vaccination a condition of deployment for frontline workers in health and care settings. This may cover Covid vaccination as well as the flu vaccine. The consultation is set to run for 6 weeks.
Again, very little has changed when it comes to COVID-19 guidance because of the Covid booster vaccine announcement. Continue to follow the official government guidance on staying safe during COVID-19.
The aim of the Covid vaccine is to boost protection for those in the identified groups who may be at higher risk from COVID-19.
Employers should continue to follow government guidance when it comes to workplace safety, managing the return to the workplace, carrying out regular risk assessments regarding COVID-19 and implementing strategies to reduce the risk.
What impact could ‘Plan B’ of the COVID winter plan have on employers?
As part of the COVID winter plan the government did also announce that they may need to invoke a ‘Plan B’ if cases of COVID-19 do surge. This could involve taking extra steps to prevent the spread of the virus including:
- Advice to work from home where possible
- The mandatory wearing of face masks in certain settings
If Plan B is invoked this could mean more considerations for employers in areas such as
- Managing the workforce and enabling staff to work from home where this is possible
- Ensuring any rules linked to face masks are adhered to – if face masks become mandatory inside then your employees will need to comply with this mandate. Equally as a business you may be in a position to ensure that your customers also adhere to the rules.
If you have any questions about an existing business insurance policy or are reviewing your business insurance needs at this time do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of friendly experts who will be more than happy to help. Contact us on 020 8290 9080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.