Unpaid carers vaccine priority guidance updated

Wednesday 17 February 2021

The government has updated the guidance on priority access to the Covid-19 vaccination to explicitly include unpaid carers. 

Unpaid carers will be offered the vaccine in priority group six alongside people aged under 65 with long-term conditions. 

GPs and the NHS this week got the green light to start inviting people in priority groups five and six to their vaccine after offering it everyone in priority groups 1-4. 

People in priority groups five and six, along with all over 50s, should be offered their first dose by the spring. 

Since November, we have campaigned to ensure parent carers are included as a priority for receiving the vaccine.

Carers will be offered the vaccine if they get carers allowance or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person “whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill”, according to the latest guidance. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) back in  December recommended carers be offered the vaccine. 

Contact’s health lead Amanda Elliot welcomed the explicit inclusion of unpaid carers, but warned GP surgeries were still telling some carers they were ineligible. 

“We are also delighted the Government has acted on JCVI advice to offer the vaccine to unpaid carers, and we are pleased some carers have been vaccinated on the back of our campaign and advice

“Unfortunately, we are still hearing reports of some carers being turned away when they ask to be added to the GP surgery’s carers list. 

“Our advice to carers remains to contact your practice to make sure you are added to GP’s carers list and prepared to provide evidence of your caring responsibilities.” 

The NHS is using a range of ways to identify and invite unpaid carers for a Covid-19 vaccination including Carer’s Allowance data, GP lists and carers data provided by local authorities. 

Lastly for information, here is a link to the letter that went out to local vaccination sites, pharmacies and local GPs on the 13 Feb 2021.

It provides information on how carers, including young carers aged 16 and 17, and other people in groups 5 and 6 will be identified and called for vaccines. It also says that a carer and the individual they care for can be vaccinated at the same time if both individuals are registered within a practice . 

Read more about the Covid-19 vaccine on our Covid-19 vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions page.