Unpaid carers and the COVID19 vaccine

The Government has clarified that unpaid carers are one of the priority groups for the Covid19 vaccine. This is set out under the “Persons with underlying health conditions” heading. Carers can now access vaccinations as part of Priority Group 6 (many would have already due to their own age/health condition). In reality all carers over 12 should have been offered at least one vaccine now due to age, if not contact 119.

    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 COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

    Definition of a Carer (with respect to vaccination eligibility). Source: page 11 of the Green Book

    Easy read guide to vaccines   Multilingual Info   Info for parents and children

    What do COVID regulations mean to me & my family?

    Some legal restrictions are being reintroduced from 30th November 2021.

    • Face coverings will once again be compulsory in shops and on public transport (unless you have a medical exemption)
    • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. This is regardless of a person's vaccination status 
    • Booster vaccinations are being rolled out wider and 2nd jabs are being offered to 12-17 year olds.

    Services, such as ours are following guidance which is largely based on maintaining social distancing (>2m) and we encourage people to wear a mask even if not legally mandated. We do ask that people do not attend event in-person  if advised to isolate and or showing COVID-symptoms. We also ask that you take a lateral flow test ahead of attending a group or our offices.

    Can I continue to provide care? Yes, throughout this pandemic one exception to restrictions has been to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable. You can also provide respite for another carer. 
    Can I visit loved-ones in hospital or care homes?

    Most hospital visits are still restricted but are relaxing and flexibility has been seen throughout with end of life care. We would suggest contacting the ward and confirming their arrangements. 

    Care home owners are balancing allowing visiting with protecting vulnerable residents, in line with care home guidance). If needed to do so, you may be able to accompany the person you care for to a medical appointment and are able to transport them. 

    If you are planning to visit, or accompany someone to, a care home, hospice, hospital or other healthcare setting, you should check that this is permitted by the facility.

    What about end of life care? Flexibility is often applied when wanting to see someone who is terminally ill or at the end of life regardless of whether you are providing care. If your loved one is in a care home or hospital, it would be advisable to first speak to staff to agree a plan as they also have to protect staff and other patients. Similarly if they are at home, it would be prudent to have a plan with professionals and family members to make this as safe as possible.
    Can I attend a funeral Yes the limit of attendees has been relaxed and now depends on the venue.
    What is a support bubble?

    A support bubble was a close support network between a household with only one adult or a household with one adult and one or more people who were under the age of 18 on 12 June 2020 in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.

    This term is used less since the relaxation of restrictions however can be confusing as often applied to schools etc.

    Are there other exemptions to covid restrictions There are several other caveats in the official guidance which aren't all listed here however they include to provide emergency assistance, childcare, education, to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm and to facilitate a house move.
    Can I socialise inside? Yes, however venues may place their own restrictions. 
    Is there any advice on how to meet safely indoors?

    Make sure the space is well ventilated.

    Open windows and doors or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air. Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that may contain virus particles reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.

    Minimise how many people you’re in close contact with and for how long. The more people you are in close contact with - particularly if they are from different households - the higher the chances of you catching or passing on COVID-19.

    Longer periods of close contact increase the risk of transmission and remember that even brief contact can spread COVID-19.

    Wash hands and clean surfaces regularly to remove virus particles.

    Can I socialise outside? Yes, again venues may have their own restrictions.
    What will be open? Theoretically all venues can open
    Is the NHS Test & Trace App still being used? Yes - The app will helps understand where and how quickly the virus is spreading. It will be used alongside traditional contact tracing, to notify users if they come into contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus, while protecting users' anonymity. 
    When will I need to self-isolate?

    The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough; a high temperature; a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.

    If you have any of these symptoms  you must stay at home and arrange a test to see if you have coronavirus.

    Rules about self isolating have relaxed - more guidance is available here .

    How does Lockdown impact our services? 

    We have an in depth COVID risk assessment and guidance covering all services. This aims to balance delivering our much-needed services with ensuring the safety of carers, clients, staff, volunteers and their families. 

    Regulated care will continue to wear PPE as this involves very close contact work. Other services including our office, groups and home visits will operate within COVID-safe guidelines which mean that masks are not needed if the activity can take place within a well-ventilated setting with more than 2m social distance. Staff will carry a mask and hand sanitizer and respect your wishes should you want them to wear a mask when visiting. Equally staff and volunteers may choose to wear a mask in any setting and we ask that you respect this decision.

    We may contact you ahead of a visit etc to discuss individual circumstances. Pease do not attend a group or have a home visit if advised to self-isolate or are showing COVID symptoms ahead of a confirmatory test.

    Official guidance for England has been updated to recommend that people take free NHS lateral flow tests (LFTs) before going to high-risk settings this winter.

    This includes spending time in busy places such as our support groups and offices, especially as vulnerable people may present (or carers of vulnerable people).

    We are aware that these are especially difficult for Carers. The Government have produced the following official guides:

    Carers Guidance  Young Carers (under 25) Guidance  A guide to being active at home  British Sign Language

    Further advice is available from Carers Trust & Carers UK

    Multilingual information on coronavirus is available via Doctors of the World