Care home workers challenge government’s mandatory jabs via Judicial Review
As per regulations set out in an amendment to The Health and Social Care Act 2008, as of 11 November 2021, anyone entering a care home in England must have received two doses of a covid jab.
Earlier this month, a Judicial Review challenge was issued by two care home workers, seeking to prevent this vaccination requirement. The claim is being brought on five grounds:
- That the amended regulations are incompatible with laws prohibiting forced vaccinations
- That they interfere with the public’s right to ‘bodily integrity’
- That they will disproportionately impact women and those who identify as BAME, in contravention of Articles 8 and 14 of ECHR
- That they are irrational and will lead to shortages in care workers.
- That the health secretary failed to consider alternatives to mandatory vaccinations or the impact of natural immunity.
It would seem that first ground might refer to the Control of Diseases Act 1984 which gives the relevant minister powers to make regulations to prevent danger to public heath and the spread of infection but explicitly excludes forced vaccinations at s.45E.
The Judicial Review challenge is being supported by crowdfunding which was set up by freedom of choice campaigner Simon Dolan. Dolan previously led a failed crowdfunded Judicial Review challenge of the Government’s lockdown measures. He describes face masks as ‘muzzles’.
The government has predicted that 7% of care home staff will refuse to have the vaccine. That amounts to 40,000 staff members which, if the judicial challenge is unsuccessful, will represent a staffing crisis in an industry already suffering a staffing crisis.
It’s a difficult quandary that the government are trying to navigate. At the heart of that quandary is an ethical conundrum where personal choice and social responsibility intersect. But for the care home workers, earning low wages doing an unenviable job in which they may already feel a lack of agency, it must feel like kick in the teeth.
This blog was prepared by Jack Dooley, Paralegal at didlaw.