Commenting on the new interim advice from the JCVI, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
“Yet again we are raising the fact that millions of unpaid carers looking after disabled, older or ill relatives and friends are being left out of announcements about the vaccination programme even though they do the same job as frontline health and care staff but care unpaid. The vaccination programme, when it included unpaid carers, recognised the hugely important role they provide which cannot easily be replaced should they become ill by overstretched health and care services. The first vaccination and booster programmes also understood the fact that vaccinating carers reduced the risk to the person being cared for.
By not recognising carers, we are not only de-valuing their role, we are potentially building up unnecessary risk across health and care services, as well as to vulnerable individuals. The pandemic does not feel like it is over for many unpaid carers who are still worried about the risk to the person they care for.
We sincerely hope that the final iteration of the guidance about boosters from the JCVI will include unpaid carers as they did last autumn 2021, making them a priority, recognising their valuable role.”