Unpaid carers who provide care for family members and close friends will be included in the next phase of the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and will begin to be called forward for their first jab, it has been revealed today (Sunday).
An NHS England letter sent to GPs, and seen by the charity Carers UK, asks them to start focusing on the vaccination of unpaid carers as well as the other eligible groups announced today by the UK Government.
Carers UK explains: “Unpaid carers are in cohort six of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s priority list for the vaccination.
“Unpaid carers are defined by the JCVI as “those in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.”
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “The Government, NHS and those administering the COVID-19 vaccines have made excellent progress in the last 10 weeks.
“Being called for the vaccine in this next phase will bring many unpaid carers a huge sense of relief, having carefully managed the risk of the virus to themselves and their older or disabled relatives for almost a year.
“Carers should wait to be called to book an appointment, and once vaccinated some of the hardest-pressed carers will be able to access support with their caring role for the first time in many months.
“This will be the biggest identification programme of unpaid carers ever carried out and should see more carers connected to local support systems.”
“It will involve new and fast collaborative working between carers’ organisations, carers, local health systems, the DWP and local authorities which we hope will leave a strong legacy for carers in the future.”
Where appropriate, NHS England plan to allow unpaid carers who are registered at a GP practice within the same Primary Care Network as the person they provide care for to receieve a vaccination at the same time. This includes housebound visits.
Those eligible will be contacted via the National Booking System to receive an invitation to book their vaccination.