The Covid-19 vaccine

The vaccination programmes are managed by the health departments in each UK country or crown dependency. Information on arrangements for each territory can be found in the FAQs below

The CSP supports vaccination as a key public health intervention which saves lives and reduces the chances of debilitating long-term illnesses including Covid.

Vaccines are tested and shown to be both safe and effective. We therefore encourage all members and patients for whom vaccinations are recommended to be vaccinated.

We recognise, however, that a person’s individual state of health, or personal beliefs, may mean that vaccination is not appropriate for everyone. We therefore believe that vaccination should remain voluntary.

In prioritising vaccine programmes we believe that the disproportionate health outcomes for Black and Asian people should be considered as a significant risk factor.

Vaccine mandating

Update 15 March 2022:  Following a government u-turn health and social care staff and students on placement, including those working in care homes, are no longer required to have had two doses of Covid-19 vaccinations.

NHS England has advised NHS employers must not serve notice of termination to employees affected by the mandatory vaccination regulations. 

Following the consultation employers may however still introduce a requirement for new staff to be vaccinated. We will update this page as further information is made available by the Department for Health and Social Care. 

How far can I go in promoting my own views on vaccinations?

The CSP recognises that robust scientific discussion covering a range of validly held opinions, including scepticism, is an important part of healthy professional debate. However, there is a significant risk of opinions becoming unprofessional when people feel they are under pressure.

The HCPC may consider a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired if it is found that they have deliberately promoted anti-vax material, and this may include the sanction of being removed from the register. The CSP strongly advises members not to create or share anti-vax messages even where they are seeking to rebut them, and instead we ask that you promote the positive benefits of vaccination instead.


What is the HCPC's stance on vaccination?

  • HCPC does not have specific guidance about the need to disclose vaccination status to service users. HCPC strongly encourages registrants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and believe this is a safe and highly effective way for registrants to reduce risk to themselves, their colleagues and their service users.

    If a registrant is not vaccinated and works in a setting where they are not required by law or by their employer to be vaccinated, they would instead expect the registrant to put in place other appropriate measures to manage the risk posed to them, colleagues and service users.

    Registrants need to be confident that measures are in place where they work to manage any risk of transmission that their health may pose to service users, and they need to take appropriate steps individually to reduce risks and prioritise safety. While all Fitness to Practise (FtP) cases are unique, it is unlikely that a registrant being unvaccinated will raise an FtP issue in and of itself.

    On 31st January the Government announced its intention to ask professional regulators operating across health to urgently review their current guidance on vaccinations. The HCPC has declined so far to make Covid-19 vaccination a professional requirement and the CSP will be encouraging them to maintain this position.


Has the Government cancelled mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations?

Following a government u-turn health and social care staff and students on placement, including those working in care homes, are no longer required to have had two doses of Covid-19 vaccinations.

NHS England has advised NHS employers must not serve notice of termination to employees affected by the mandatory vaccination regulations. 

Following the consultation employers may however still introduce a requirement for new staff to be vaccinated. We will update this page as further information is made available by the Department for Health and Social Care. 


Why has the Government changed its mind on mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations?

Following calls from the CSP and other health unions the Government has reviewed its policy in light of changes in Covid-19 variants and reduction in hospitalised cases of Covid-19. Lower levels of hospitalisation and mortality suggests the population as a whole is now better protected, with the latest evidence suggesting that the risk of presentation to emergency care or hospital admission is approximately half of that for Delta. 


Do I still need to get a Covid-19 vaccination?

On 1st February 2022 NHS England published their letter requesting that employers do not serve notice of termination to employees affected by the mandatory vaccination regulations. You can read their letter here.

From 15th March 2022 you are no longer required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to deliver physiotherapy services in a care home.

Although the Government has reversed its decision on introducing mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations it has asked regulators, including HCPC, and NHS employers to review their policies. Following this consultation NHS employers may require new staff to be vaccinated regardless of their role and circumstances. The Government has refused to rule out reintroducing a legal requirement in future.

The CSP continues to strongly encourage vaccination as a safe and effective public health measure.


Are flu vaccinations mandatory?

It is not currently proposed that flu vaccination requirements will be introduced as a regulation, however, the government will keep this under review following this winter and ahead of winter 2022/23.


 

Did the announcement apply to England only?

The announcement only covers services in England, but Northern Ireland is conducting its own consultation on mandatory vaccinations for new staff.


 

England

The NHS Covid-19 vaccination booking service or 119 telephone service allows any person to self-refer for a vaccine appointment if they are:

  • 1st and 2nd doses for people aged 5 years old and over

  • Boosters for people aged 16 years old and over, plus at-risk children aged 12 to 15 years old

  • Spring boosters for people aged 75 years old and over, plus people aged 12 years old and over with a weakened immune system

  • Additional primary doses for people with a severely weakened immune system aged 12 years old and over

There are also local walk-in coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination sites that do not require appointments. They can be attended for:

  • 1st and 2nd doses if you're aged 12 years old and over

  • Booster doses and spring boosters

  • Additional doses for people with a severely weakened immune system aged 12 years old and over

  • 1st and 2nd doses for at-risk children aged 5 to 11

Further information:

(Last updated 5 April 2022)


Wales

All people in Wales aged 5 and over are now eligible for vaccination. Anyone who has not been invited for their vaccine can contact their health board for an appointment.

People aged 75 and over, older care home residents and people over 12 years old who are immunosuppressed are being invited for their second booster. For more information read COVID-19 vaccination booster


Northern Ireland

All people aged 5 and over are eligible for vaccination. Boosters are available for anyone aged 16 and over who is at least three months from their second vaccine dose.  For more information visit:


Scotland

All adults aged 16 and over on (and including) 31 October 2021 are now eligible for vaccination. For more information visit NHS Inform.

Booster Vaccinations

The health and social care workers portal is open via NHS Inform for eligible practitioners to arrange vaccination.


Crown dependencies

Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are following the same approach as the UK.

Isle of Man: Vaccination is available for all people from the age of 12 years, however some children aged 5-11 are eligible to receive the vaccine. For further information on vaccination and booster eligibility read Covid-19 booster vaccine.

Channel Islands

Guernsey: all residents aged 12 years or over are eligible for vaccination. For further information on the Vaccination Centre opening hours read Bailiwick Vaccination ProgrammeAttendees are required to take a lateral flow test before attending the centre.

Jersey: Vaccination is available for all people from the age of 12 years, however some children aged 5-11 are eligible to receive the vaccine. For further information on vaccination and booster eligibility read Get vaccinated. You can book your appointment online.


Are children eligible for the vaccination?

In England, the NHS Covid-19 vaccination booking service or 119 telephone service allows children to self-refer for a vaccine appointment if they are:

  • 1st and 2nd doses for people aged 5 years old and over

  • Boosters for people aged 16 years old and over, plus at-risk children aged 12 to 15 years old

  • Spring boosters for children aged 12 years old and over with a weakened immune system

  • Additional primary doses for children with a severely weakened immune system aged 12 years old and over

For more information read:

(Last updated 5 April 2022)


Are vaccinations already mandatory for NHS staff?

It is not currently mandatory (i.e. required by law) for healthcare staff to be immunised. For further guidance, this is covered by Public Health England’s Green Book: Chapter 12 Immunisation of healthcare and laboratory staff.

However, it is important to check your own trust’s staff immunisation policy as they may have their own requirements to work in specific clinical areas. For example, trusts may require staff to prove that they have been vaccinated or are immune to Hepatitis B before carrying out exposure prone procedures.


 Covid-19 status certification

What does the CSP think about 'vaccine passports'?

  • The CSP has submitted a response to the UK government consultation on Covid-19 status certification. Read the full statement:

Can I restrict group sessions or individual treatment to people who have been fully vaccinated?

No. The CSP does not support the practice of asking patients about their vaccination status. Vaccination status is a person’s private health information and is therefore special category data under the Data Protection Act. You must not use vaccination status as a factor in determining who can access your services as this may lead to an allegation of discrimination against you.

The Information Commissioner's Office provides clear guidance that sets out that if you are collecting vaccination status details, then you must make it clear to people how you will use that information via your privacy notices. 

You can find more information and resources on how to remain safe while treating patients and your rights and responsibilities in the Personal protective equipment (PPE) – guidance, resources and FAQs section.


Can I ask people to declare their Covid-19 vaccine status when they apply for educational courses that I am running?

No. Subject to national requirements and any local restrictions that may be in place, members may be able to restart offering in-person educational courses. The CSP does not support the practice of asking course applicants about their vaccination status.

Vaccination status is a person’s private health information and is therefore special category data under the Data Protection Act. The Information Commissioner's Office provides clear guidance that sets out that if you are collecting vaccination status details of employees, then you must make it clear to people how you will use that information via your privacy notices . These principles may also apply to requests for vaccination status in other settings such as educational course provision. You must not use vaccination status as a factor in determining who can attend your courses as this may lead to an allegation of discrimination against you.


Do I need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to deliver physiotherapy services in care homes?

The regulations changed on 15 March 2022 and healthcare workers are no longer required by law to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (or exempt) to deliver services in a care home.

(Updated  25 March 2022)


Further resources

CSP vaccine mandate webinar - recording and resources now available | The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Advice on vaccinations and health

Advice is available from a range of condition, patient or professional organisations:

Pregnant women are more at risk from Covid, so vaccination is advised for pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy. However, pregnant women can choose to opt for a medical exemption.

(Last updated 5 April 2022)

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