Unpaid carers could be ‘accelerated’ up the Covid vaccine priority list

By Jemma Crew and Claire Hayhurst, PA
·2-min read

Unpaid carers could be “accelerated” up the priority list for a vaccine, the co-chair of the Covid-19 Vaccine Programme Board has said.

Dr Gillian Richardson was asked at a Welsh Government press conference whether unpaid carers should be prioritised alongside health and social care workers.

On Wednesday the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a detailed list of who should get the jab first.

It said care home residents and their carers, adults aged over 80 and frontline health and social care workers are at the front of the queue.

But the list does not specifically mention unpaid carers.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

“Unpaid carers, of which I am one, are extremely important to the people they care for but also the whole of society,” Dr Richardson said.

“I think that this is something also that the JCVI is very acutely aware of and it’s probable that they will be making some announcements about carers and about them being accelerated, if you like, so that they wouldn’t have to wait for their particular age group to be called.

“So expect further announcements on that.”

The charity Carers UK said unpaid carers “will be at a complete loss” as to why they are not on the list along with other health and care workers.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said the JCVI has already prioritised unpaid carers for the flu vaccine.

She continued: “They have made huge sacrifices over the last nine months to protect their loved ones from Covid-19 – taking every possible step to mitigate risks and keep that person as safe as possible.

“They have sacrificed their own breaks from caring, their physical and mental health, reduced their working hours and significantly limited their contact with the outside world in an extraordinary effort to keep relatives safe while waiting for the vaccine.”