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) has been working with the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Somerset 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 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 your 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.