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The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised the following groups be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine this autumn:

  • residents in a care home for older adults
  • all adults aged 65 years and over
  • persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group, as laid out in the Immunisation Green Book, COVID-19 chapter
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts (as defined in the Green Book) of people with immunosuppression
  • persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers (as defined in the Green Book) and staff working in care homes for older adults

The Immunisation Green Book lists carers as those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those aged 16 years and over 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. This is the same definition as has been used for the COVID-19 booster.

Those clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 are defined by the following JCVI priority groups: a) children of any age with severe neuro-disability, severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities (including Down’s syndrome and those on the learning disability register) or immunosuppression (as defined in table 4 in the Immunisation Green Book, Chapter 14a), b) adults who have underlying health conditions leading to greater risk of disease or mortality as defined in table 3 in the Green Book, c) those of advanced age.

Helen Walker, chief executive at Carers UK, said:

“Offering unpaid carers a free Covid-19 booster vaccination this autumn helps to ensure they are better able to protect themselves and the older, disabled or seriously ill relatives they support during the more challenging winter months. We welcome that unpaid carers have been clearly recognised and listed as eligible for the Covid-19 booster this autumn.

“It is vital that anyone with a caring responsibility for a friend or family member registers their caring role with their GP so that they can make the most of the Covid-19 booster and they are clearly eligible and ready when the vaccine roll-out begins in the autumn. Carers identifying themselves with their GP and asking for this to be flagged on their patient record will also see longer term public health benefits, such as being offered a free flu jab.

“Local organisations, such as carers centres, pharmacies and GP practices themselves have another good reason to work together to support unpaid carers locally to identify themselves and register with their GP.”

Carers UK’s advice for carers about the COVID-19 vaccination programmes is available here:  Carers UK also has advice for carers about why it’s important to tell their GP that they are a carer and a template letter they can send to the practice:


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