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College says NO to Mandatory Vaccination for its active members

College says NO to Mandatory Vaccination for its active members

In a response to the Department of Health and Social Care: Making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector October 2021:

The College responded to a consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care on making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector.

The College strongly encourages all health and social care workers in primary and secondary care, and their colleagues, to have all recommended vaccinations unless they are medically exempt. However, they do not support mandatory vaccination as a condition of deployment in a healthcare setting. “We believe that vaccine uptake will be maximized where optometrists and practice staff are supported to make their own decisions, having been provided with clear, evidence-based information on the benefit and value of vaccinations.”

They recommend that the Department of Health and Social Care: encourage all healthcare workers, including optometrists and colleagues who are vaccine-hesitant, to have the opportunity to fully understand the benefits of vaccinations, with risks explained proportionately, and given the autonomy to make an informed choice. Optometrists should be given time to discuss their concerns with their employer or occupational health team.

To ensure that optometrists and colleagues have priority access to all vaccines as frontline healthcare workers. Employers should make having vaccinations as easy as possible; for example by enabling optometrists to attend an appointment within working hours, or at a time and location that suits their needs.

To provide employers with the support to undertake a risk assessment for those who are medically unable to be vaccinated, or remain hesitant about vaccines, and consider how to mitigate risks to patients and prioritise patient safety.

To ensure that messaging around infection control measures and regular lateral flow testing is clear, and that they must continue to be practised, regardless of whether optometrists have been vaccinated or not.

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