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Unpaid carers aged 16 and over, are now eligible to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. Southend Council and Southend Carers are urging all unpaid carers who have not yet been invited for an appointment by the NHS, to visit the National Booking Service or call 119 to see if they are eligible.
The appeal follows the recent announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), stating that unpaid carers are now included in the vaccination roll-out within priority cohort 6, and are being called forward for their first dose.
According to the census, there may be as many as 17,682 unpaid carers in Southend and some of them might meet the criteria. They are encouraged to visit the National Booking Service where they can complete a self-assessment, or call 119. Those who qualify will be directed to a booking page to book their vaccination.
Qualification will be in line with the priority criteria outlined by the JCVI. Eligibility includes those who are:
- The parents or primary carers of children and young people who are disabled and are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 or have underlying health conditions
- Young carers aged 16+ of people who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable or have underlying health conditions
- Caring for someone with severe mental illness
Unpaid carers aged 16-17 who have not yet been contacted by their GP practice, should contact them now and they will arrange a vaccination for you. Social care, health care and care providers have already been offered a vaccination under JCVI Priority 2 of the rollout.
Councillor Trevor Harp, cabinet member for adult social care and health said: “All those involved in administering the COVID-19 vaccines both nationally and locally have made excellent progress so far.
By the end of last week, over 61,700 people in Southend-on-Sea have now received their first dose of the vaccination which is great news.
“The prioritisation of unpaid carers for the vaccine is extremely welcome news and will bring a huge sense of relief to many thousands of people across Southend-on-Sea. These people have been under great pressure to carefully manage the risk of the virus to themselves but also to older and vulnerable relatives for the last year.
“By asking them to come forward if not already vaccinated, we hope to help them access their vaccination as soon as possible. as well as provide them with access to local support systems in the future if they should need it.”
Daryl King, Chair of Southend Carers, said: “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been at times bleak, scary and unsettling for unpaid carers, with the extra stress and anxiety that comes with looking after someone, and the fear of bringing coronavirus into the home.
“We recognise the additional, complex pressures and challenges that unpaid carers face, and the invaluable contribution that they make. It is going to be a different world as we move forward, but taking the vaccine is the fastest way to save lives and help our society reopen as normally as possible.”
If you think you might be an unpaid carer, and you are interested in knowing more about our free information, advice and support, please email [email protected] or call 01702 393933.