Covid vaccine and the situation for families with disabled children highlighted on ITV Tonight

Thursday 14 January 2021

ITV Tonight’s programme Vaccine: When will I get one? highlights why it’s so important to vaccinate parent carers as soon as possible – to not only protect them from the virus, but also give protection to their children, some who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

The programme features the Bee family who are supporters of Contact’s campaign. Sam and Dan are parents to 2-year-old Obie who has VACTERL syndrome. Due to Obie’s complex medical needs, the family were shielding from March. Obie did start nursery in September and Sam was due to start a nursing course, but she deferred due to the uncertainty at the time. Then with a spike in Covid cases in the Autumn they started shielding again from 2 December. The vaccine will make such a huge difference to their quality of life and help them emerge from many months of shielding.

Tune in on ITV this evening (Thursday 14 January) at 7.30pm and on ITV + 1 at 8.30pm.

Clinically extremely vulnerable children

The vaccines are not licensed for use with children, although trials have started with secondary school age children. Contact is seeking information on the approach the government’s expert committee is taking to find an appropriate vaccine for children with long term and rare conditions.

However it might be that some children can’t have a vaccine and that’s why it’s so important that their parents are vaccinated as soon as possible.

Contact’s campaign

Thank you to everyone who joined our campaign by signing our petition to ensure family carers are given the Covid vaccine as soon as possible. We were delighted when it was announced on 30 December that the government’s expert committee on vaccines had revised its recommendations to include unpaid carers in priority group 6. However, it is disappointing that unpaid carers have not been included in the newly published vaccine delivery plan, we are seeking a statement from government on this so that unpaid carers are identified and offered the vaccine as soon as possible.

We are urging all parent carers to register with their GP as an unpaid carer, so that they can be called up for the vaccine as soon as their priority group is ready to be called.

We have heard that some GPs do not yet know that unpaid carers have been added to the priority list. Contact advises you to send a copy of the guidance (see Table 3 of the green Book).

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