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Unpaid carers urged to register for their COVID-19 vaccination appointment

In line with national guidance, appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations are now being offered to eligible, unpaid carers in Suffolk and north east Essex within priority cohort 6.

Eligible unpaid carers are identified by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which for the purposes of accessing a COVID-19 vaccination is defined as:

“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”.
 and includes those who are:

• The parents or primary carers of children and young people who are disabled and are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 e.g. children with severe neuro-disabilities

• Carers aged 16+ of people who are elderly or clinically vulnerable due to underlying health conditions

Carers of an elderly or disabled person, who are in receipt of carers allowance, or are known by their GP, County Council or local carer organisations as an unpaid carer, should have already been contacted with an offer to book a vaccination.  

All unpaid carers who are unsure if they have been identified are now urged to come forward.  This is especially important if they have not already been invited for a vaccination. 

Unpaid carers aged 16-17 who have not yet been contacted by their GP practice, should contact them now and they will arrange a vaccination for you. 

However, those unpaid carers who are aged 18 and over, who are unregistered and still meet the criteria are urged to visit the National Booking Service where they can complete a self-assessment. Carers can also call 119. Those who qualify will be directed to a booking page to book their vaccination.

Lizzie Mapplebeck, Programme Director for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS North East Essex clinical commissioning groups, said: “The vaccination rollout is moving at pace and so it’s fantastic that we’re now able to extend the reach to unpaid carers. However, not every carer is known or registered with their GP practice or council, and I urge those ‘unknown’ carers to make contact so they can be booked in for their vaccination.”

Sue Cook, Executive Director, People Services at Suffolk County Council said: “Working closely with partners in health and social care, we are aware of a group of people who provide day to day care to people who are clinically vulnerable to Covid-19, and we want these carers, regardless of age to come forward now, make contact through the national booking service and look to book a vaccination.”  

“We have already identified all Suffolk carers registered with the council and Suffolk Family Carers to ensure they are contacted by NHS to get offered the vaccinations at one of the large vaccinations sites in Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds. It is important to remember that you will need to visit the same location for your 1st and 2nd doses.”  

Councillor John Spence, Essex County Council, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care said, “The NHS, the Government and those administering the Covid-19 vaccines have made excellent progress so far in the vaccination programme with over 511,000 people in Essex having now received their first dose of the vaccination.  

“The prioritisation of unpaid carers for the vaccine is extremely welcome news and will bring a huge sense of relief to many thousands of people across Essex. These people have been under great pressure to carefully manage the risk of the virus to themselves but also to older and vulnerable relatives for the last year. 

“By coming forward, we hope to help them access their vaccination as soon as possible. as well as provide them with access to local support systems in the future if they should need it.”  

For those who don’t have access to the internet, or are seeking further advice or assistance, in north east Essex please contact the Carers First Helpline on 0300 303 1555 or email hello@carersfirst.org.uk and in Suffolk contact Suffolk Family Carers on 01473 835477 or email hello@suffolkfamilycarers.org

If you are not eligible for vaccination as a carer, please do not contact your GP practice or try to register for a COVID-19 vaccination. It is important these appointments are prioritised for those who are now eligible under this cohort to help protect them and those they care for.