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Fully vaccinated healthcare staff exempted from self-isolation

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Fully vaccinated healthcare staff – include those working in community pharmacy – will no longer be expected to isolate and will be expected to return to work. 

As of 16 August 2021, the government is changing the requirements to self-isolate following close contact with a positive Covid-19 case.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have written to NHS providers asking them to ensure that the following safeguards are put in place for them to safely do so:

  • the contact should obtain a negative PCR test prior to returning to their workplace (staff should not attend work while awaiting the PCR test result);
  • the staff member has had two doses of an approved vaccine, and is at least two weeks (14 days) post double vaccination at the point of exposure;
  • provision of subsequent, daily negative LFD antigen tests for a minimum of 10 days before commencing a shift (with test results reported to Test and Trace via the web portal and to their duty manager or an identified senior staff member). Any contact who has a positive LFD test should self-isolate and arrange a PCR test;
  • the staff member/student is and remains asymptomatic; and
  • continued use of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, in line with the current UK IPC guidance.

Any staff member who has not had both doses of the vaccine, or who is living directly (i.e. in the same household) as a positive contact, should continue to isolate in line with government guidance.

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