Vaccine information for carers

Last changed: Thursday 4 March, 2021

As we reported, unpaid carers are among the groups that should be being prioritised for receipt of the Covid-19 vaccine. Here we give extra detail on this, answer some questions and explain how to get your name put on the list of those who will receive a vaccination.

Unpaid carers in priority group

Next step: get on the list


Unpaid carers are in a priority group for Covid-19 vaccination

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is the body advising the government on vaccine priorities. In their advice document of 30 December 2020 a list of priority groups is given. Item 6 in that list is:

6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality

This is expanded on by a footnote:

This also includes those who are in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

This means all main carers aged 16 to 64 may be eligible. Older carers will already be included in priority groups due to their age alone.

Next step for unpaid carers

To be able to receive a Covid-19 vaccination, you need to be recorded as being a carer with your GP practice. Previously we were encouraging carers to contact their GPs themselves, but GPs were struggling with the sudden demand.

We recommend that carers contact us to leave their details as we are compiling the information to pass on to the NHS. We will also be providing carers with letters to confirm their carer status.

Questions and problems

What is a main carer?

The main carer is the person who provides most of the care and support needs of a cared-for person. 

What is meant by disabled?

Disability is defined in UK law by the Equality Act 2010. Under the Act you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

This legal definition is expanded on by a Guidance document. From this it is clear to us that anyone who has a health impairment that requires someone else to provide a significant amount of care for them is highly likely to be disabled under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.

It does not matter how the impairment has been caused: whether as a result of physical, mental, sensory, learning or cognitive disabilities or illnesses, substance misuse or brain injury.

One way to consider the question is to ask yourself: would the person I care for be able to carry out their normal day-to-day life if I wasn’t there to provide that care?

I don’t receive Carers Allowance, does that matter?

No. The statement in the JCVI advice is very clear:

This also includes those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, **or** those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

The person I care for is housebound or unable to travel to receive a vaccine and/or cannot be left alone, what should I do?

You need to make sure that your GP is aware of the situation. GPs are being paid extra to vaccinate housebound patients. If you cannot leave your cared-for person while you receive a vaccine ask the GP practice if it will be possible for you to be vaccinated at the same time.