COVID-19 Guidance – Vaccinations
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COVID-19 Guidance – Vaccinations
With the COVID-19 vaccination programme now being rolled out, many community transport providers are getting involved with making sure that members of their community can access the vaccine. There are also questions about volunteers and members of staff getting vaccinated, as well as what implications passenger numbers have on vehicle capacity. Here you can find some frequently asked questions about vaccinations as well as find our guidance for members taking people to get their vaccinations.
Vaccines and paid or voluntary staff
Please note, for this section we have not made a distinction between paid or voluntary drivers or staff, as neither is more or less infectious, at risk, or in need of a safe environment than the other.
The government has not yet legislated for the COVID-19 vaccine to be mandatory for anyone. However, on 14 April 2021 a consultation was opened on whether to make vaccination a requirement for those working in older adult care homes, so this may be on the horizon.
The NHS is offering the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to people in order of who’s most at risk.
Employers should support staff or volunteers in getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s offered to them. There’s no law that says people must have the vaccine, even if an employer would prefer someone to have it. There may be some people who are advised not to have the vaccine, for example for health reasons and potentially some who may have reservations. When talking to volunteers or staff members it’s important to approach the issue with care for the people you work with. At CTA, we’re not legal experts, so do consider taking legal or HR expertise if your organisation’s situation is particularly complex.
There’s a chance someone might still get or spread COVID-19 if they’ve had a vaccine. Even once people are vaccinated they must still follow relevant risk assessments, social distancing measures, wear a face covering and fulfil any testing regimes.
To encourage staff to get the vaccine, employers might consider:
- paid time off for vaccination appointments
- not counting vaccine-related absences in absence records
You should not ask staff or volunteers if they have had or plan to have a vaccine, but rather make it clear that they can come to you in confidence should they so choose. With open communication, if a team member lets you know they are not vaccinated you can consider which duties they are best able to perform that will reduce direct contact with colleagues or passengers. This might include them working from home, driving routes with less vulnerable passengers or sitting behind screens in the office.
Lateral flow testing
Regular testing is key to ensuring that your staff and volunteers are negative for coronavirus. Either delivered in the workplace or at home, lateral flow testing should be carried out in a well-structured and timetabled way, in-keeping with your workplace policy.
Depending on where you are in the UK, you may be able to access testing for free. Even if your nation is not offering free testing, it might be worth checking in with your local authority or health board to see if you can join the wider testing scheme.
You can find the relevant information broken down by nation in the links below:
- England: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests
- Wales: https://gov.wales/covid-19-workplace-testing-framework-html
- Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-test-and-protect/pages/advice-for-employers/
- Northern Ireland: http://www.health-ni.gov.uk/workforce-testing
Vaccines and passengers
After a year or more of running limited services, it is understandable if you want to fill the vehicle to full capacity. Nevertheless, it is inappropriate to ask passengers whether or not they have had a vaccine, or to make it a condition of travel. Those with the vaccine are still able to pass it to others so social distancing and PPE in line with your risk assessments is still essential. This should be combined with a close understanding of local COVID levels and any regional or local restrictions.
CTA’s guidance on community transport providers taking people to get vaccinated.
With the COVID-19 vaccination programme now being rolled out, many community transport providers are getting involved with making sure that members of their community can access the vaccine.
We’ve put together a number of indicators and guidelines to support organisations as they begin to provide transport for the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out. As the vaccination programme develops we will be adding new guidance, so check back here for any updates.
Download our transport to vaccination guidance