Double vaccinated NHS staff could be exempt from self-isolation

Nicola Sturgeon said changes to quarantine rules were being considered and would be set out soon.

Double vaccinated NHS staff could be exempt from self-isolation iStock

The First Minister said the government is considering making NHS staff who have had two doses of the coronavirus vaccine exempt from having to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive case.

NHS health boards are experiencing extreme pressure on services with staff shortages due to large numbers of medical workers having to quarantine.

On Tuesday, UK health minister Sajid Javid said fully-vaccinated people and children will not have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive from August 16 in England.

At a virtual coronavirus briefing on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was reviewing the rules on isolating for double vaccinated people including for specific occupations such as NHS staff.

“We are considering it in general terms also considering in relation to particular occupations and workplaces having large numbers of people self-isolating which potentially raise questions of retainment of services”, Sturgeon said.

“It’s important we don’t take risks with the health and wellbeing of people in these occupations.”

The First Minister said potential changes would be set out soon.

Dr Gregor Smith, Scotland’s chief medical officer, said Public Health Scotland along with other UK agencies were gathering evidence regarding a potential change to self-isolation rules for healthcare staff.

He said: “I think it’s right that we consider all aspects of risk when we’re talking about double vaccinated health and social care workers who have been asked to isolate working in a service that at times is under pressure.”

The First Minister said she may be able to give an update on the review of the changes during her statement before parliament next Tuesday, when she is due to confirm whether and to what extent restrictions will ease in Scotland on July 19.

Two NHS boards have hospitals in “code black” status as they cancel non-urgent procedures amid staff shortages and increasing pressure on services.

A seaside town in Aberdeenshire was hit by 13 business closures due to outbreaks of coronavirus in what locals described as a “huge loss”.

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