Being a carer
In April 2015 care and support changed for the better. Under the government’s Care Act, carers had their rights put into law for the first time, allowing them to get the support they need for their own wellbeing.
Who is an unpaid carer?
Unpaid care is care that is delivered by a family member or friend for those who cannot cope without their support due to:
- a lifelong condition
- illness, disability
- serious injury
- a mental health condition
- an addiction
If you're an unpaid carer, you will be contacted soon to book in for your first vaccination appointment.
Unpaid carers eligible for the vaccine are those aged 16 to 65 years:
“Who are eligible for carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19.”
Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations
We know that there are many people who are eligible for the vaccine as an unpaid carer may not see themselves as a ‘carer’. For some, you may have been providing care as part of your day to day for a long time.
For others, your family circumstances may have recently changed which means you are now taking on these caring responsibilities. If you are the sole or primary care for an older or disabled person then we would encourage you to take up this opportunity.
How will I be identified?
At the moment, there are two routes to unpaid carers being identified:
- if you're registered as an unpaid carer with your GP - this means you have a ‘Carers Flag’ on your GP records
- you're entitled to receive Carer’s Allowance - the Department for Work and Pensions will share this information with the vaccination programme
How will I be contacted?
You might get a phone call, a text message or you may be written to. You might be contacted more than once. However you are contacted, you'll be provided with all the information you need about how to book an appointment and you will be given information about the vaccination.
It will be up to you to book the appointment. To book the appointment as quickly as possible, it will help to find out what your NHS number is. If you don’t know your NHS number you can find out easily through the NHS website.
If you receive Carer’s Allowance or if you are registered as a carer with your GP practice, you're now able to book in for your vaccine before you are contacted online through the National Booking Service or by calling 119.
If you fall within another priority vaccination group you may not be contacted as an unpaid carer as you will be or have been invited for vaccination through another route.
What to expect when you are contacted
You need to have two doses of the vaccine and to go to two appointments. The second dose will be given no more than 12 weeks after your first one.
The first dose of the coronavirus vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the two doses of the vaccine to give you longer-lasting protection. You may be invited to have your vaccination at:
- your GP surgery or another local GP surgery
- a near-by vaccination centre
- a local pharmacy
You'll receive all the information you need to book your vaccination ahead of time and more information can be found on the NHS website. If you're contacted through more than one route and offered the vaccination at different locations, you can choose the location which is most convenient for you.
What if I am not contacted soon and think I am eligible?
Please make sure that your GP knows that you're an unpaid carer so that this can be noted on your GP record.
We know that the two routes to identifying unpaid carers listed above will not include all carers who are eligible for the vaccine. We're working on ensuring that we are able to identify all unpaid carers in order for everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to be contacted as soon as possible
What if I’m not sure about getting the vaccine?
The vaccines for Covid-19 are safe and effective, and offer the best protection from becoming seriously ill. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine.
Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get Covid-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.More information about the vaccine is available on the council website.
How to get support from us
Allowances, benefits and legal rights for carers
Services for carers
- Carer's breaks: so you can take time out from caring
- Carer's direct payment: a one-off award for carers in need
Resources for carers
- Care and support for the person you care for
- Buses, parking and transport for carers
- Local concessions for carers
- Carer health and wellbeing
- Luton Adult Learning: get into learning
- Local adult training and education