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Personal assistants eligible for vaccination as part of National Priority Group Two: frontline social care workers

These questions and answers have been co-ordinated by the LGA’s Care and Health Improvement Programme, based on queries received by Skills for Care, Think Local, Act Personal, In-control, and Disability North, and have been developed with input from these partners, alongside ADASS, the LGA, individual councils and the Department of Health and Social Care.

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  • Skills for Care estimate there are around 140,000 Personal Assistants (PAs) employed by 70,000 individual employers. Many of these will be providing care to people, both adults and children, who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID -19.
  • To be eligible for vaccination in the national priority group two, PAs need to be caring for someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, and/or has a defined underlying health condition leading to greater risk of disease or mortality from COVID-19, and/or is of advanced age (85+); this is set out in detail in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) published on 14 January 2021.
  • All PAs who meet this definition are eligible for vaccination now, regardless of whether they are self-employed, employed privately, through a social care direct payment (DP), a personal health budget (PHB), or through a broker or payroll provider.
  • Councils are asked to ensure that all eligible PAs, whether known to them or not, are included in the vaccination programme for this national priority group, and for confirming, in writing, eligibility for vaccination with individual employers and self-employed PAs; an example letter is below (appendix two).
  • Individual employers, and self-employed PAs are therefore asked to provide their local council with details of those eligible for vaccination through a single point of contact in their local council (appendix one).
  • Vaccination sites are asked to check eligibility when PAs arrive for their appointment, so it’s important a PA has all the necessary information with them which should include:

    their notification of eligibility from the council or CCG, or if using the National Booking Service without this,

    a signed employer’s letter confirming their eligibility and place of work;

    their consent to vaccination form;

    their NHS number;

    photo ID as proof of identity eg an ID badge, passport or driving licence;

    where any PA is refused vaccination, this should be raised immediately with the local council single point of contact.
  • Because the option of an employer’s letter instead of a letter from the council has just been introduced, we don’t know how well this will work locally, so a letter of eligibility from the council remains the best way of ensuring a PAs can get their vaccination; this will be particularly important if a PA does not have any photo ID.
  • If an individual employer or self-employed PA has not already been contacted about vaccination, for two weeks from 11 February 2021PAs can book an appointment direct with the National Booking Service or by phone: 119; in order to speed up vaccinations, a signed employer’s letter confirming a PAs frontline care role and place of work, can replace the eligibility letter from their council. Find out more about self-referral for social care worker vaccination.
  • Individual employers and self-employed PAs are asked to ensure they have key information about vaccination prior to their appointment, including the covering letter to go with the consent form, notice of eligibility from the council (or a signed employers letter) and information for women of childbearing age.
  • Government has published other information about vaccination (including in different languages) which may be helpful, along with additional resources to help those with concerns about vaccination.
  • A key worker letter, or being registered as a carer with a GP, may not guarantee vaccination which is why the written eligibility notification from the council, or an employer’s letter, is essential to ensure PAs are vaccinated.
  • If the person (or people) the PA cares for is not within the definition, then the PA will be vaccinated when their turn comes in the national priority list, based on their age, and any relevant clinical factors.
  • Anyone unsuccessful in making contact with their council can notify [email protected]

This has been produced at pace, so please report any inaccuracies to [email protected].