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COVID-19 Vaccine information for carers in Wales

Unpaid carers in Wales can self-identify to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

You can do this by selecting the health board for where you live and filling in the form on their website

Anuerin Bevan University Health Board

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board 

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

Hywel Dda University Health Board 

Powys Teaching Health Board

Swansea Bay University Health Board

Not all unpaid carers are eligible for the vaccine at this time. You must qualify under three factors to be eligible.

Some information has not been finalised on carers getting access to the vaccine. We will be updating the advice as it changes. Where there has been no confirmation, we have included the latest information with dates when available. 

Page created: 26/02/21      Page Updated: 1/03/2021

Am I eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Welsh Government have set three factors to make an unpaid carer eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at priority group / cohort 6 of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as stated by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

These are (quoted directly from the Welsh Government):

I. The vulnerability of the person being cared for (is one of):

  • is 65 years old and over (group 5)
  • is deemed extremely clinically vulnerable (group 4)
  • has a defined underlying health condition including mental illness (qualifying as group 6)
  • is a child under 16 with complex medical needs / severe neuro-disabilities

II. The nature of the care provided to those 16 and over: 

  • includes, but is not restricted to, helping with eating, bathing, shaving, managing continence, dressing and walking. It may include intervening in challenging or risky behaviour. It may include providing significant levels of support and supervision at home or in the community and where social distancing is not possible.

or

The nature of the care provided to children under 16 with complex medical needs/ severe neuro-disabilities:

  • is beyond the care and support parents ordinarily provide for a child. It is likely to include tasks like tracheostomy tube care, airway suction, repositioning to manage pressure areas and care interventions such as respiratory physiotherapy. It may include intensive personal care such as daily washing and continence care and /or managing behaviours that challenge.

III. The unpaid carer is the sole or primary carer

  • We recognise that caring for some people may require two people to assist with such tasks as positioning, hoisting, bathing and changing. There may be arrangements whereby two people evenly divide the caring responsibilities. In such instances, both unpaid carers may be considered as the primary carers.

To be prioritised for vaccination, an unpaid carer should satisfy all three factors.

You must also be between 18 and 64 years old 

You can read the Welsh Governments full information on COVID-19 vaccine for carers here: https://gov.wales/covid-19-vaccination-unpaid-carers-html

I am over 65, why am I not eligible?

If you are over 65, you are already included in priority groups / cohorts 1 to 5 of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and should have already been contacted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have not been contacted, you should contact your GP or Local Health Board to inform them that you have not been offered the vaccine. They will organise for you to receive the vaccine. 

I am under 16, why am i not eligible?

Young people under 16 are not being vaccinated unless in exceptional circumstances due to severe-neuro disabilities.

This means that young carers have not been included in this stage of the vaccine rollout.

*Note: If you are 16 or 17, you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. You are likely to need to fill in the form as the recommendations generally are for those 18 and over.

How do I know if the person I care for fits within the Welsh Government's guidelines of being 'extremely vulnerable' or 'vulnerable'?

The Public Health Wales website defines who is considered 'extremely vulnerable' or 'vulnerable'. The frequently updated list of these categories of people can be found here: https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/immunisation-and-vaccines/covid-19-vaccination-information/eligibility-for-the-vaccine/

If you believe that the person you care for should be considered 'extremely vulnerable' or 'vulnerable', you or they should speak to their specialist or GP.

If the specialist or GP adds them to either list, you qualify as caring for someone who is in either group.

You must qualify under all the conditions stated to be eligible for the vaccine.

I care for someone under 16. Why are the rules different for me?

The JCVI considers the risk to those under 16 of hospitisation or death to be lower than the adult population unless in exceptional circumstances such as severe-neuro disabilities.

The Welsh Government have taken this into account when developing the factors to see if unpaid carers qualify to be vaccinated under priority group / cohort 6. 

This means the intensity of care required to access the vaccine as a carer, for someone under 16, is higher.

Do I need to get carer's allowance, or any of the underlying benefits, to get the vaccine?

No. You do not need to claim (or to have ever claimed) carer's allowance, or any of the underlying benefits, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a carer.

Only the three factors (above) effect your ability to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Do I need to register with social services, GPs or anyone else to get the vaccine?

No. You do not need to be registered with social services, your GP or any other medical service, any carer organisation or anyone else to be eligible for the vaccine.

Only the three factors (above) effect your ability to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

I receive carers allowance, will I automatically get the vaccine?

Carers Allowance has not been used by the Welsh Government as a way to identify unpaid carers for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Carers who receive carers allowance will not automatically be put on a list to receive the vaccine.

If you are in receipt of carers allowance, you are very likely to qualify under the three conditions set out by the Welsh Government unless you care for someone under 16. Those who care for someone under 16 may be able to claim carers allowance but not be in line to receive the vaccine.

*Note: This information is changing and being updated regularly. Please keep checking back as it is possible this information could substantially change in the future.

Will any carers be automatically be added to the list?

Yes. GP surgeries have been asked to submit any lists of carers that they have.

It is currently unknown if these lists will be going through a vetting process or if all carers on GP lists will be automatically.

If you are not on the GP list or are concerned there may be an issue, please see the question below.

If I am eligible but not automatically added, what do I do to get the vaccine?

Any carer, who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, will need to complete an online form.

You can do this by selecting the health board for where you live and filling in the form on their website:

Anuerin Bevan University Health Board

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

Hywel Dda University Health Board

Powys Teaching Health Board

Swansea Bay University Health Board

If your doctor's surgery is in a different health board to your address, please select the health board where your doctor's surgery is located. 

I, or someone I know, does not have access to a computer. How do I register?

The online form should be accessible for anyone with a computer, tablet or smart phone.

Each health board also has to offer a number to contact if you can not access the web form.

If you need further assistance, please contact us on 029 2081 1370 or your local carer centre for further advice. 

Can I make any requests to make accessing the appointment easier?

At the end of most forms (or when you speak to your GP), there is a comment box to put in any additional information.

If you have additional requirements, please put that information in the comment box. The health boards will attempt to accommodate these requests where they can.

Can I have my vaccine at the same time as the person I care for?

If you the person you care for has not had the vaccine, you may request that they receive it at the same time if you or they are given an appointment.

This may or may not happen depending on the amount of vaccine the center has available.

You may also be able to request someone who has had their first vaccine to receive their second one at the same time as you. This will also be dependant on vaccine availability.

I have completed the webform, when do I get the vaccine?

How quickly you will receive the vaccine will depend on where you live. Some carers will receive the vaccine before others. 

The Welsh Government has set a target for all people eligible to receive the vaccine in priority groups / cohorts 5 to 9 to have received an invitation to recieve the spring. 

Which vaccine will I get?

You are unable to choose which vaccine you will recieve.

You may be able to ask which vaccine you are receiving at your appointment.

Will I need to pay for the vaccine?

No. The vaccine is being distributed by the Welsh NHS and there is no direct cost before or at the time of receiving the vaccine.

If someone requests payment for the vaccine at any stage, this is a scam. Please report this to your local police by calling 101.

Will the Covid vaccine be safe?

The vaccines cannot be approved by the UK regulator (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency - MHRA) until they have been rigorously tested to meet the highest safety standards. Therefore, at this stage of public roll out, we can be assured that they have met these standards.

The UK Government has indicated that there will be enough vaccines for everyone in the UK, but this will take time. Limited amounts will only be available to start with and the roll-out programme will be gradual, prioritising those who are considered most vulnerable.

Will I lose my appointment if I can't reach a vaccination centre?

A number of new vaccination centres have recently opened to assist with the roll-out of the vaccines. Some people have expressed concerns that they cannot travel easily and worry they may miss out.

If you have been advised to travel to a vaccination centre but cannot get there – for example if you're assisting someone you care for who's too vulnerable – we would suggest that you contact your local GP to explain your circumstances and ask what alternative arrangements can be set up for you. You should not lose your priority position because of this and you/ the person you care for will still be able to receive the vaccine.

What is the expected waiting period between the first dose and the second dose?

In order for the vaccine to be most effective, two doses of the vaccine are neededThe second dose is likely to be scheduled for up to 12 weeks later than the first and you should be notified about this when you receive your first dose.Your GP will be able to advise you if you have any questions.

After we have been vaccinated, do we still need to be socially distancing ourselves from others?

Absolutely. It is essential that you carry on following the rules around social distancing after having both the first and second doses of vaccine to keep everyone safe.  

It is not yet clear that immunisation will stop the spread of transmission even if it protects against illness and deathTherefore we are all advised to continue following the rules whether vaccinated or not. In addition, experts say that it can take two weeks after vaccination for immunity to take effect. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for clarity.

You can get more general information on the COVID-19 vaccine from Carers Uk here: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/coronavirus-covid-19

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