This update is from Louise Hutchinson, Senior Public Involvement Lead with Sussex NHS Commissioners.
Group 5 – over 65s
Over 65s started receiving invitation letters on Friday, and booking for this group went live on Friday evening. There is a slight change to the process from before, in that those in group 5 are invited to book via the national booking service for an appointment at a mass vaccination centre or community pharmacy-led site, either online via https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or by telephone by calling 119, and they do not have to wait for the letter to book. Importantly, it would seem that this group will not be contacted by the local GP-led services, though they can have an appointment via the local GP-led services if they do not wish to or cannot attend a mass vaccination centre or pharmacy. However, we are seeking clarification as to how people can access this; we don’t want to tell people to contact their GP surgery unnecessarily, as we know some practices have been reluctant to take calls to discuss the vaccination programme (in the main, they are not the ones making the bookings), however we do not want people to be waiting for an invitation that isn’t coming.
So, for now, people can book via the national service, but if they do want a vaccination more local to them, we are hoping to get clarification soon as to how they will be booked and will put this information on our website when confirmed (and we will let vaccination champions know). And to confirm, this is a national rather than local change.
Group 6 – ‘at risk’ and informal carers:
- If people are unsure as to whether or not they fall into group 6 you can refer to the panel towards the bottom right of the attached poster, which gives examples of the kinds of conditions included. However, it should be pointed out that it is their GP who determines whether they are in this group, and if people have an issue with this they must contact their GP practice. As a general rule (though not exlusively), people who are called each year by their GP for their free flu jab would fall into this group.
- People ‘at risk’ will be contacted by their local GP-led service from today with an appointment or an invitation to book an appointment. There are lots of people in this group (around 7million), so not everyone will hear immediately.
- Group 6 are not currently able to book via the national online or 119 system; they must wait for the invitation from their GP-led service.
Re carers specifically, please see the information below:
Eligible adult carers will be contacted via the National Booking System (NBS) to receive an invitation to book vaccination through Vaccination Centres, Community Pharmacy local vaccination services (LVS) or Hospital Hubs, once a list compiled by NHSE/I in conjunction with Local Authorities has been produced.
Local systems may choose to flex these arrangements based on the needs of their populations and GP-led services should be prepared to administer vaccinations to eligible adult carers who choose to receive vaccination in LVS settings, and are coded as such on the GP system. Further guidance relating to the vaccination of eligible adult carers will be published as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) week commencing 15/02/21. This SOP will detail the specific actions that will be required by Local Authorities, carers organisations, DWP, the NHS and adult carers themselves.
We recognise the difficulties in identifying people in this group. We are asking the third sector to help us identify people through public campaigns, with an ‘ask’ that eligible unpaid carers contact their local authority to make themselves known so they can be prioritised for vaccination through the National Booking Service.
Primary Care Network (PCN) LVSs should also prioritise invitations to carers aged 16 and 17 flagged within their systems to align with their known allocations of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the only currently authorised vaccine under Regulation 174 which can be used for individuals aged 16 and 17.
PCN LVSs should coordinate the offer of vaccination to carers flagged in their systems so that the carer and the at-risk individual they care for can be vaccinated at the same time if both individuals are registered within a practice in that PCN.
When administering vaccinations to at risk individuals who are housebound, the PCN LVS should, where it is clinically appropriate to do so, vaccinate both the at-risk individual and their main carer (if present) at the same time.