Carers' Guide to the Covid-19 Vaccine
With two vaccines being rolled out, and unpaid carers being included in group six of the priority list, it feels like there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s our guide to carers and the Coronavirus vaccination.
Everything you need to know about carers and the Covid-19 Vaccination
Can Carers get the Covid-19 Vaccination?
Yes, as part of group six on the priority list, as unpaid carers we should be invited to receive the coronavirus inoculation. If our GP surgery is saying otherwise, we can refer them to footnote three, of the guidance on priority list.
How do carers get their Covid-19 Vaccine?
First things first, we must make sure we’re registered as a carer with our GP
If our surgery is only ‘going by age’, and excluding carers, direct them to the government advice on priority groups - referring them to footnote three.
We may be invited to our surgery or a vaccine hub to receive our Covid-19 jab. Our GP surgery will advise.
It might be worth asking our surgeries if we can be vaccinated at the same time as the person we care for. Some GPs are offering this on a discretionary basis.
When it’s our time, we will each receive a letter inviting us to book our Covid-19 jab. Once we have our letter, we can go to this website to book.
When will carers get the coronavirus injection?
Some carers in our community have shared that their GP surgeries were happy to vaccinate them at the same time as the person they cared for. So we may like to call our surgeries and see if they are able to do the same. After all, we’ll likely be there anyway!
Where will carers get vaccinated against Coronavirus?
Our GP surgeries will let us know where we need to go to get our Covid-19 jab. It may be at our local surgery, or we may be asked to go to a vaccination hub. If you have any access or transport issues, please do raise them with your GP’s surgery.
If the person we care for is being vaccinated at home, it’s worth asking if we can receive the vaccine at the same time. This will save us having to arrange cover for the person we care for, or taking them with us when the time comes for our own Coronavirus injection.
Some carers have reported long queues, when they have taken the person they care for along for their Covid jab. If this may pose problems, it’s worth calling the surgery to discuss options. We may also like to wear warm clothing, pack a snack and bring along a fold down seat, if outside queuing is likely!
How long will carers need to wait, until we are protected?
Based on current estimates, as unpaid carers we are likely to receive our Covid-19 vaccinations over the summer. Unless of course we’re over 65 or clinically extremely vulnerable ourselves. In these circumstances, we should receive our Covid-19 vaccine sooner, according to the priority list.
Should carers get the Covid-19 vaccination?
Doctors and scientists have confirmed the vaccine as safe. It doesn’t inject the actual Covid-19 virus, instead it gives our bodies the tools to defend against the virus. Read the Government’s statement.
People with allergies and with pre-existing medical conditions, as well as those who are pregnant should always consult a doctor prior to being vaccinated.
When making our decision, we should consider the implications for both ourselves and the person we care for, if we were to become ill from Coronavirus and the following long covid.
Can carers get vaccinated at the same time as the person they care for?
While not official policy, some carers in our community have reported that some GP surgeries are allowing the carer to be vaccinated at the same time as the person they care for. This appears to be a discretionary decision, and may involve consideration of other factors including the carer’s age and health. If this would help you, it may be worth phoning your surgery or discussing with your nurse or GP.
What if I have to break my own shielding, to get the person I care for vaccinated?
This is a challenge reported by several carers, and is far from ideal. Some surgeries are offering home visits for vaccinations, so a chat with your GP may be able to provide a safer solution for you.
What to expect after your Covid-19 jab
There are two types of vaccination being used, both of which require 2 injections a few weeks apart. As with any vaccination they may cause some side effects, most of which are mild or short term. For more information on what we can expect after our Covid-19 jabs, read the Government’s latest advice.
What is the Covid-19 vaccination process?
The vaccines are being offered right now, and being rolled out in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVI) priority list. Unpaid carers are included in group six, and according to current understanding should see us receiving the vaccine over the summer.
When it’s our time to receive the vaccination, we’ll receive a letter in the post, asking us to book our Covid-19 inoculation via this link. The vaccine is given in two doses, and we need to book both appointments together, via this link.
On the day of your vaccination, you may be asked to wait for a 15 minute observation period after receiving your jab. If you're taking your cared for, you may want to think about what will make that 15 minute wait as easy as possible for you both. That might be snacks or entertainment.
For anyone supporting a person with a learning disability or dementia, this simple vaccine guide from Mencap may be helpful.
My GP surgery isn't recognising me as a carer
Covid-19 vaccination timetable by country?
Be scam aware
Unfortunately there are some convincing vaccination scams doing the rounds. The image supplied is from one of the scams, to demonstrate how convincing they are.
The scam emails and text messages often send us to a fake NHS website and ask for bank details to book our vaccine.
The Covid-19 vaccination is free of charge.
The NHS will never ask
For bank account details
Bank card or pin numbers
Documentation such as passports
If we think we or our cared-for have been the victim of a fraud, we can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Which magazine have prepared a helpful report on vaccine scams.
A few carers in our community have reported a push-back from their GP surgery, either around carers being included in Group 6 or their eligibility to be classed as a carer.