Coronavirus vaccination Programme

Statement from the Directors and Steering group Friday 26th February 2021

We would like to thank all the parent carers who have been in touch over the last 10 days around registering as a carer with your GP surgery for the vaccination. We know that there has been a mixture of experiences throughout Somerset, and this has caused some confusion and upset.

Background – At a national level guidance around the classification of carers eligible for a vaccine in group 6 has been confusing with the Green book published on 12th February and the letter on the 13th February to Local Vaccination Sites giving slightly different descriptions. This has been further complicated by the national Standard Operating procedure, which would provide clarity, not being published.

We have been actively working with the CCG to ensure we have one agreed description for the whole of Somerset to ensure fair and equal access to the vaccine. Today we have met with the Covid-19 vaccination programme lead for the CCG to discuss this issue. The CCG have identified that some GP’s have been working to the green book description and others the letter. This has been reviewed and moving forward all practitioners will be using the definition in the letter published on the 13th February 2021. This states the following description:

Adult Carers – Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person, someone who has a severe mental illness or whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill. 

The forum recognises that there can be difficulties in identifying unpaid carers in Group 6 so we will continue to work with Somerset CCG, Somerset County Council and third sector organisations to help identify people through public campaigns, with an ‘ask’ that eligible unpaid carers contact their GP to make themselves known so they can be prioritised for vaccination through the National Booking Service. 

We are delighted by this news and feel this is a very positive outcome for all carers in Somerset. We would like to thank Alex Murrey and Jane Harris for meeting with us today and helping to find a solution to this concern.  Below you will find some frequently asked questions which may be helpful.