Coronavirus vaccine and carers: FAQs for unpaid carers
This information covers the process in England.
On 20 February, NHS England wrote to local leaders in charge of the vaccination programme and set out how they should identify unpaid carers in this initial phase of vaccinating those in Priority Group 6.
Carers Trust looks forward to the publication of the Standard Operating Procedure which will set out how other eligible unpaid carers will be identified, contacted and vaccinated.
Unpaid carers are in Priority Group 6 in the first wave of vaccinations. The vaccination programme has now reached Priority Groups 5 and 6, meaning eligible unpaid carers should soon be receiving an invite for their vaccination.
Unpaid carers in Priority Group 6
For the Coronavirus vaccine, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Public Health England (PHE) Green Book have outlined that unpaid carers eligible for the vaccine are:
“Those who are eligible for carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable”
How will I be identified?
For now, unpaid carers will be identified through two channels. You will be identified:
- If you are registered as an unpaid carer with your GP. This is known as having a “Carers Flag” on your primary care records.
- You are in receipt of or entitled to Carer’s Allowance. The Department for Work and Pensions will share this information with the vaccination programme.
How will I be contacted?
You will be contacted by either your local health system known as a Primary Care Network (PCN) or by the National Booking System (NBS).
They may phone you, send you a text message or write to you. You may get more than one communication. Whether it’s the PCN or NBS that contact you, and however you are contacted (phone call, text or letter) you will be provided will all relevant details about how to book an appointment as well as information on the vaccination.
It is up to you to book the appointment. To book the appointment as quickly as possible, you should find out what your NHS number is.
What to expect when you are contacted
You need to have two doses of the vaccine and to go to two appointments.
The first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the two doses of the vaccine to give you longer-lasting protection. The second dose will be given no more than 12 weeks after your first one. You may be invited to have your vaccination at:
- a local hospital
- your GP surgery or another local GP surgery
- a near-by vaccination centre
- a local pharmacy.
You will receive all the information you need to book your vaccination ahead of time and more information can be found here. You may be contacted via more than one route and offering you the vaccination at different locations. You can choose the location which is most convenient for you.
What if I am not contacted soon and think I am eligible?
The vaccination programme recognises that these two channels will not include all carers who are eligible. A process is being developed to both identify unpaid carers not identified through these two channels and to enable previously unidentified unpaid carers to become known to local authorities and receive the vaccine they are eligible for. We will share information on this as soon as possible.
We know that many unpaid carers will want to have the vaccine as soon as possible. If you are not contacted in the near future, please be assured that processes are being developed to allow eligible unpaid carers who are not identified through the above lists or channels, to self identify and have the vaccine.
The vaccines have been approved for use by an independent regulator. You can read more information here.
1: Residents in care homes for older adults. Care home workers.
2: All those aged 80 and over. Frontline health and social care workers.
3: All those aged 75 and over.
4: All those aged 70 and over. Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
5: All those aged 65 and over.
6: Adults aged 16 to 65 with underlying health condition. Unpaid carers aged 16 – 65 (who meet eligibility criteria above).
7: All those aged 60 and over.
8: All those aged 55 and over.
9: All those aged 50 and over
If you have any questions you can contact:
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