In February 2021 the government added unpaid carers to group 6 for the Covid Vaccination Programme. Unpaid carers can often be hidden so there would be a challenge to find all those in this group. They asked councils, health professionals, charities and voluntary groups to work together to identify unpaid carers in their area.

The Somerset Parent Carer Forum (SPCF) have been working with Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Somerset County Council and other groups like the carers services to raise awareness and get carers registered with their GP surgery.

You told us

Some parents were being turned away from GP surgeries as it was felt they did not qualify to be registered as a carer. Some were being asked to provide carers allowance proof and others were being registered without this or were already on the GP’s lists.

The problem

The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation issues guidance for professionals in 2 documents, the green book and a letter. These have slightly different descriptions of an unpaid carer which led to confusion. Not everyone in Somerset was using the same description to identify unpaid carers.

What has been done

SPCF have talked to the lead professional for Somerset’s vaccination program to raise your concerns. They also shared some of the positive stories you have given to show how good it can be when we work together and get it right.

She has listened and as a health system they have taken action to make sure everyone uses the same description which should stop unpaid carers not be correctly registered. This will
mean more carers can get the vaccine, this is good news but will mean it will take slightly longer to get through everyone in group 6.

What happens next

If you are registered as a carer you will get called for you vaccination during the next few weeks. If you are not registered please let your GP know you are a carer for someone with a disability. They will add you to the system and then you will get called. If you have any difficulties then please contact the Somerset Parent Carer Forum who will work with others to try to find a solution.

More vaccination information

You can find some Coronavirus vaccination frequently asked questions that you may find useful here

Somerset Parent Carer Forum (SPCF) Coronavirus Vaccination Programme Information

The latest information on vaccination locations and sites and questions and answers about the programme can be found on the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group Vaccinations in Somerset

Somerset County Council – Somerset’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

NHS Coronavirus vaccine – Find out about the vaccination, including who will get the vaccine first and information about vaccine safety

COVID-19 vaccination programme – Documents relating to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme.

Somerset County Council news – Unpaid carers invited for vaccination

Somerset County Council – Latest Coronavirus updates