COVID-19 vaccine deployment programme: Frontline social care workers

Covid fact check

Roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine is underway, and the programme overall is being led by our partners in the NHS. Please note: You should not seek a vaccine if you have had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 28 days or if you currently have any symptoms of the virus.

Who gets the vaccine first?

Decisions on who gets the vaccine first are made using criteria set nationally which is based on risk. For those working in social care, the first priority group to receive the vaccine was those working in care homes for older people.

On 7 January we received notification that the vaccination programme was extending to those in the Priority Two category with includes:

All frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work (for example in people’s own homes, day centres, care homes for working-age adults or supported housing); whether they care for clinically vulnerable adults or children or who they are employed by (for example local government, NHS private sector or third sector employees).

Delivering the priority 2 requirement

There are tens of thousands of people who work in the health and social care industry in Coventry alone. Many will meet the above requirement but many will not and it is the responsibility of the Local Authority to ensuring that all employers of frontline social care workers in their area are identified and provided with the necessary information and support to make arrangements for the vaccination of staff.

A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been published to provide guidance on how this is to be delivered. 

Over the coming weeks, employers of social care workers who meet the criteria for access to a vaccine under this stage of the programme will be contacted by the City Council regarding accessing the vaccine for their eligible staff.

If you are contacted you will be asked to provide information on staff names and numbers initially followed by information on how to book a vaccination appointment and, where they need to go and what they need to bring.

This is a big logistical operation so please be patient if not contacted immediately.

I believe I meet the criteria, but no one has contacted me

We are doing our best to identify and contact all eligible social care workers, it is however possible that we do not reach everyone. Anyone who believes they fall into the category as outlined in the SOP who has not been contacted, please email [email protected].  If you make contact, please provide a short description of the work undertaken that you consider meets the requirement.

My organisation provides social care but is not contracted to the local authority – are we still included?

Yes, this priority includes all eligible social care workers and does not require a contract with the local authority.

How long will it take?

Delivering the vaccination programme is a national priority and although specific timescales can’t be provided, we hope to be able to offer vaccination booking appointments to all eligible staff by the middle of February.

Where will I need to go?

Vaccinations for social care staff are currently being delivered at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire. It is possible that other options become available as the programme progresses which you will be notified of with booking arrangements. Please do not turn up without an appointment. Although not essential, it will speed-up the process if you know your NHS number. You can find out your number using the NHS website.

Unpaid carers

The Joint Committee for Vaccination Immunisation (JCV1) has stipulated that priority group 6 includes unpaid carers. The JVCI advises UK health departments on immunisation and makes recommendations on vaccination schedules and vaccine safety. 

Work is in progress to develop a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guidance for the roll-out vaccinations to unpaid carers.

Many unpaid carers will receive early vaccination due to their own age, or clinical need as defined in JCVI groups 1-5 (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, 30 December 2020 (update 6 January 2021)).

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is working with the vaccination programme and key stakeholders, including ADASS, the LGA and carers organisations with the aim of this SOP being launched at the end of January 2021.

Like other SOPs, this will include clarity on definitions, eligibility and the process for unpaid carers to access vaccination as a guide to support local implementation.

Greenbook chapter 14a (PDF)

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