Are carers eligible for the Coronavirus vaccine booster?
Unpaid carers who were eligible in Group 6 for the spring vaccination are eligible for the booster vaccine.
For more information on the booster programme please visit the government webpage.
How will the Booster Programme work?
Those who were in Priority Groups 1 – 9 in the first phase of the vaccine programme, including:
- unpaid carers aged 16 and over
- all adults over 50 years old
- adults aged 16-49 who are in an influenza or Coronavirus at risk group
will be offered a ‘booster’ vaccine no earlier than 6 months after their second dose.
Unpaid carers who were identified during the first phase of the vaccination roll out (identified through entitlement to Carer’s Allowance, GP records, or receiving support from a Local Authority and/or Carer Support Organisation), will be called by the NHS Call and Recall service for booster vaccinations.
How will I be identified?
Eligible unpaid carers have previously been identified in four ways. You could have been identified:
- If you are registered as an unpaid carer with your GP. This is known as having a Carers Flag on your primary care records.
- If you receive, or are entitled to, Carer’s Allowance. The Department for Work and Pensions will share this information with the vaccination programme.
- If you are known to the local authority as a carer, and are receiving support following a statutory carers assessment.
- If you are supported by a local carer support organisation.
National organisations like the NHS and local organisations such as local authorities, GPs, and local carer support organisations, are working together to ensure eligible unpaid carers are identified and receive an invitation for the booster vaccine.
How and when will I be contacted?
The NHS will issue invitations directly to you if you are an eligible carer via text message and/or letters. You may also receive reminders.
Unpaid carers identified through having a carer’s flag on their GP record will be contacted by your GP practice who are delivering the vaccination programme through the local Primary Care Network.
If you have become an unpaid carer since spring 2020, contact your GP practice and ask that they record your carer status on your records.
When you are contacted, it is up to you to book the appointment. To book the appointment as quickly as possible, you should find out what your NHS number is.
The NHS will never ask you to pay for a vaccination, so be wary of any scams operating which ask you to pay for a vaccine.
Do I need ID to prove I’m a carer at the vaccine centre?
When you go and get your vaccine, take along with you the confirmation of your appointment, photo ID (if you have it) to prove your identity (such as your name), and your NHS number if you have it. You do not need to provide proof you are a carer, but if you do have something like a letter from the DWP, or something similar from your local council, you may want to take that with you. You don’t need to delay booking an appointment, or cancel your appointment if you don’t have these things
Can I have the vaccine at the same time as the person I care for?
There will need to be at least six months between when you received your second dose and receiving your booster vaccine. If it has been six months since your second dose and you’d like to have the booster at the same time as the person you care for (it is important that it has also been six months since the person you cared for had their second dose and that their booster vaccination is not unduly delayed) then please let your GP or the vaccination centre know.
Can I have the Coronavirus vaccine booster at the same time as the flu vaccine?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has also advised that the flu and Coronavirus vaccines can be given at the same time.
This will depend on the availability of the vaccines. The NHS is advising that people have the booster and flu vaccines when they are invited to do so – rather than wait for the possibility of getting them at the same time – so that neither are unnecessarily delayed.
Which carers are eligible for the Coronavirus booster vaccine?
Eligible unpaid carers are in Priority Group 6 for the Coronavirus booster vaccine.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Public Health England (PHE) Green Book have decided that unpaid carers eligible for the vaccine are:
“Those who are eligible for Carer’s Allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of Coronavirus mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable” (page 11 of the Green Book)
Those clinically vulnerable to Coronavirus include:
- Children with severe neuro-disabilities.
- Those who are designated Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) and were in Priority Group 4.
- Adults who have underlying health conditions (and are in Priority Group 6 alongside unpaid carers).
- Those who need care because of advanced age.
What if I am not contacted soon and think I am eligible?
If you think you’re an unpaid carer, you should contact your GP. This will help you get other vaccinations and support that you might need.
Anyone over the age of 50 or with an underlying health condition which makes them clinically vulnerable to Coronavirus will be offered a booster vaccine, whether or not they are a carer.
I am a young carer– am I eligible?
Young carers aged 16 and 17 are eligible for the booster vaccine within the same criteria. However, only one of the vaccines is approved for use for 16- and 17-year-olds, and it is up to the vaccine centre to ensure you get the right one. If you are an eligible unpaid carer aged 16 or 17, your GP will contact you. If you are not sure if your GP knows you are a carer, you should contact them.
If you need help you can contact your GP or local young carer services.
Children aged 12-15 can now access Coronavirus vaccinations in line with JCVI guidance released on 3 September 2021. Young carers can now access vaccinations as part of this approach.
The vaccines have been approved for use by an independent regulator. You can read more information on the NHS website.