Carers' Guide to the Covid-19 Vaccine

With three vaccines now rolled out here’s our guide to carers and the Coronavirus vaccination.

As a carer, when will I get my Covid booster?

The Coronavirus booster programme is following the same priority group rollout as the main vaccination programme. So as unpaid carers we’re eligible for a booster and fall into priority group six (footnote three)

 

However, we may fall into a higher priority group based on other factors such as our age or own health conditions.

 

We must have had our second dose of the vaccine at least 6 months ago, to receive our booster vaccination.


If we have any concerns about being identified as an unpaid carer, there are several ways we can do this.

 

How can I book my Covid booster as an unpaid carer?

The good news is that right now we don’t have to do anything ourselves, aside from wait. We will be contacted by the NHS, when it’s our time to receive our booster vaccination. The appointment may be booked for us, or we may be directed to the Government's webpage to book.


In Scotland, we will begin to be contacted by letter or by our GPs from the end of September 2021 onwards, and once our eligibility group is reached.

 
 

Can carers get the Covid-19 Vaccination?

Originally, all unpaid carers were eligible, as part of group six on the priority list.  And indeed some areas are still working to this list, so it is worth checking locally.

The revised list (as at 8th March 2021) is based on the following classification;

“Those who are eligible for a 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.”

It is coming to light that there are regional differences in how the rules are being interpreted. We are pulling together the latest advice by region, and will be adding to this daily as find out more.

The advice remains the same however. To ensure we are all registered with our GPs, as carers.

How do carers get their Covid-19 Vaccine?

  1. First things first, we must make sure we’re registered as a carer with our GP.  Rather than phoning our surgeries at this busy time, most GP practices have a form on their website, or you can do so using the e-consult form. To reduce the pressure on our GP surgeries, many of our local carers' centre are available to help too. We can find our local centre, using this tool.

  2. If we receive Carers Allowance, the system will pick us up and send us a letter with details of how to book.

  3. 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. As mentioned, some regions are using a revised definition of 'unpaid carer', so you might like to check out our 'Rollout by area' section.

  4. We may be invited to our surgery or a vaccine hub to receive our Covid-19 jab.

  5. It might be worth asking our surgery if we can be vaccinated at the same time as the person we care for. Some GPs are offering this on a discretionary basis.

  6. If we're in receipt of Carers' Allowance, we can go straight to the website to book.

  7. Each county and country across the UK, are tackling group 6 (which includes unpaid carers) in a way that works most efficiently for them. And in some areas a revised definition of 'unpaid carer' is being used. This may mean that in some areas, we have to be a little more patient, while we wait our turn. To find out what's going on in your area, click here.

 
 

When will carers get the coronavirus injection?

Unpaid carers are in group six of the priority list, and in some areas vaccinations for carers have already started.

There appear to be two broad approaches to defining an unpaid carer - in the context of vaccine rollout. It will depend which of these approaches your local area is adopting. Check out our growing 'rollout by region' section.


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!

Other carers are experiencing pushback and delay in receiving the vaccination. Group 6 is a huge group, and each local area is approaching the list in the most effective way for them. This means some of us may need to be patient a little longer.

Click here to find out what's happening in your area.

Rollout by area

 

The vaccination rollout is a fast moving beast and news with regards to carers can sometimes feel muddled and changing.

We are updating this page daily with vaccination updates for carers on a regional basis.  

If you can't see your region, and have some info to share, please email us at suzanne@mobiliseonline.co.uk

Click on your country, and then by region.

England

 

Scotland

 

Click for the latest Covid-19 vaccine advice in Scotland.​

 

We would like to grow this list, to account for any differences between counties. If you have knowledge to share, please let us know by emailing suzanne@mobiliseonline.co.uk

 

Wales

Click for the latest Covid-19 vaccine advice in Wales.

We would like to grow this list, to account for any differences between counties. If you have knowledge to share, please let us know by emailing suzanne@mobiliseonline.co.uk

Northern Ireland

 

Click for the latest Covid-19 vaccine advice in Northern Ireland.

We would like to grow this list, to account for any differences between counties. If you have knowledge to share, please let us know by emailing suzanne@mobiliseonline.co.uk

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.

 

Most carers are reporting that the vaccination process is very slick. however, 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 vaccination between Spring and 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.

Click to find out what is happening in your area.

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 three types of vaccination being used, both of which require 2 injections a few weeks apart (currently there is a gap of around 12 weeks between injections).  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. Some areas are however using the revised list, which includes only certain unpaid carers

 

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. If we book online, we need to book both appointments together, via the link. If our vaccine is via our GP surgery, then it is likely they will advice that they'll send out our follow up appointment for approximately 12 weeks later.

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

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.

It might be that the receptionist answering the phone does not have a clear understanding of unpaid carers. Speaking to the Practise Manager, or sending an email for their attention, may be effective.

 

You can also refer your surgery to the Government's priority listing (footnote 3), and you may also like to use this letter from Carers UK to register your eligibility with your surgery. 

Some areas are using a revised definition of an 'unpaid carer' for the purposes of vaccine allocation. For specific information about how your area is managing vaccines for unpaid carers, please click here.

Please note that even if we fall outside the JVCI's definition of an 'unpaid carer', this does not mean we are not an 'unpaid carer'. The JVCI's revised priority list for the vaccine rollout is using a very specific definition of an unpaid carer, purely in the context of early access to the vaccine.

We are still unpaid carers, and our role as 'unpaid carer' should still be acknowledge on our GP's system.

 
 

Be scam aware

Covid-19 vaccination timetable by country?

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.

And remember, when our vaccination time arrives, we will receive a letter in the post, asking us to book.

 

Share your story

Are you a carer who has already had the Covid-19 vaccination?

Please do join our community and share your story. We believe in the power carers have to empower each other through our combined knowledge.

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