LIVE: Q&As for health and social care staff
Who are eligible frontline social care or health care workers in England? ⬇️
People who have direct contact with patients, clients or service users at higher risk from coronavirus (Covid-19) are eligible frontline social care or health care workers in England.
Health workers, for example:
- you work in a clinical role (such as a doctor or nurse)
- you have contact in a non-clinical role (such as a receptionist or porter)
- you work in a hospital laboratory, mortuary or a funeral home
Social care workers, for example:
- you are a registered professional in social care (such as a social worker or nurse)
- you work in residential care, nursing care or in supported living
- you provide personal care for people in their homes
The following community-based social care workers are eligible:
Example of Role
Direct care - these roles involve directly working with people who need care and support
• Activities worker
• Care worker
• Personal assistant
• Rehabilitation, reablement, enablement worker
• Shared lives carer
• Advocacy worker
Management of care and residential setting - these roles involve managerial responsibility for a small team, or a whole service.
• Team leader or supervisor
• Deputy Manager or team leader
• Specialist coordinator, such as dementia or end of life care coordinator
Social care support – these roles provide direct support and administrative functions
• Housing support officer
• Volunteer coordinator
• Social care prescriber/care navigator
• Welfare rights
• Employment advisor
• Administration roles including finance, HR
• Trainer or assessor
Ancillary staff in care and residential homes - these roles do not involve direct care but are vital to the running of social care services.
• Cook or kitchen assistant
• Housekeeping or domestic worker
• Driver or transport manager
Regulated professionals – these roles require the worker to hold relevant qualifications and to be registered with a regulated body to practice.
• Social worker
• Approved mental health professionals
• Occupational therapist
• Nurse including nursing associate
• Complimentary therapist
The following staff groups are not eligible within this priority group as defined by the JCVI:
- Administrative staff who do not have any direct contact with clients.
- Social care workers working with children who are not considered priority within the context of the JCVI priority cohorts 1-9 (children under 16 who do not have underlying health conditions leading to greater risk of disease or mortality and children who have no underlying health conditions).
- Unpaid carers.
NHS England will be monitoring the national booking service to identify instances of fraud related to people who do not meet the definitions above.
Please note that if you already have an appointment booked or allocated in the next 10 days please do not book another appointment via the national booking service. Please ensure that you attend the appointment that is booked for you. This will greatly help us to manage vaccine wastage and make sure that everyone gets their vaccination as quickly as possible.
Am I eligible for a Covid-19 booster vaccination? ⬇️
Booster vaccines are available for care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 to 49-years-old with underlying health conditions, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
You must have had your 2nd dose at least 3 months ago.
Health and care staff who are eligible to have a Covid-19 booster vaccine are being encouraged to use the National Booking Service to arrange their top-up appointment.
What happens when I arrive for my appointment? ⬇️
You will be asked to verbally declare to the person booking you in at the vaccination site that:
- you are a health or social care worker
- the type of role/work you do
- the name of your employer
You will also need to show further proof of employment as a health or social care worker such as one of the following:
- A recent letter from you employer setting out how you meet the eligibility criteria
- Authorisation letter from the local authority
- A staff ID badge
- A recent (within the last 3 months) payslip which shows your employer.
You will also be asked for photographic identification.
You will be informed, by the person recording your vaccination, that it will be recorded that you are a health or social care worker.
Why is it important to get your Covid-19 vaccine? ⬇️
If you’re a frontline worker working in social care, you are more likely to be exposed to Covid-19 at work. Health care workers and those working in social care (particularly in care homes) are at much higher risk of repeated exposure to the infection.
Catching Covid-19 can be serious and may lead to long term complications. These are more common in older staff or those with underlying clinical risk factors.
You can have Covid-19 without any symptoms and pass it on to family, friends and residents, many of whom may be at increased risk from coronavirus. Being healthy doesn’t reduce your risk of catching Covid-19 or passing it on.
With high rates of Covid-19, it’s more important than ever to help stop the spread of coronavirus, to avoid pressure on the NHS and to keep the health and social care workforce healthy.
Will the vaccine protect me? ⬇️
The Covid-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from Covid-19 disease.
Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective and it may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the frst dose of vaccine. Some people may still get Covid-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should lessen the severity of any infection.
Will the vaccine protect those I care for? ⬇️
There is increasing evidence that vaccination will lead to a reduction in transmission, and even a small effect will have major additional benefit for staff who could expose multiple vulnerable patients and other staff members.
A recent study showed a 30% reduction in risk of infection in the household members of vaccinated compared to unvaccinated healthcare workers after only a single dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine (Covid-19 greenbook chapter 14a).
Will the vaccine have side effects? ⬇️
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have symptoms after the frst dose, you still need to have the second dose. Although you should get good protection from the frst dose, having the second dose should give you longer lasting protection against the virus.
Very common side effects include:
• having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1-2 days after the vaccine
• feeling tired
• general aches, or mild fu like symptoms
Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for two to three days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection.
You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme. You can do this online by searching Coronavirus Yellow Card or by downloading the Yellow Card app.
You can take the normal dose of paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) and rest to help you feel better. Do not exceed the normal dose. These symptoms normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, call NHS 111. If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination (show them the vaccination card) so that they can assess you properly
Who cannot have the vaccine? ⬇️
The vaccines do not contain living organism, and so are safe for people with disorders of the immune system. These people may not respond so well to the vaccine. A very small number of people who have severe allergies cannot have the vaccine.
Pregnant or think you may be? ⬇️
Covid-19 vaccines are strongly recommended in pregnancy. All pregnant women and girls in the UK aged 16 and over have now been offered a Covid-19 vaccine.
On 16 April 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that all pregnant women should be offered the Covid-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, in line with their age and clinical risk group roll out.
Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of Covid-19 in pregnancy for both women and babies, including admission to intensive care and premature birth.
The decision whether to have the vaccination in pregnancy is your choice. Make sure you understand as much as you can about Covid-19 and about the vaccine, and you may want to discuss your options with a trusted source such as your doctor or midwife.
Read more on the RCOG website.
Can I go back to work after having my vaccine? ⬇️
Yes, you should be able to work as long as you feel well. If your arm is particularly sore, you may fnd heavy lifting diffcult. If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving.
Can I catch Covid-19 from the vaccine? ⬇️
You cannot catch Covid-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught Covid-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.
If you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, stay at home and arrange to have a PCR test. If you need more information on symptoms visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/ coronavirus-COVID-19/ symptoms/
What do I do next? ⬇️
Plan to attend your next appointment.
You should have a record card with your next appointment written on it, for an appointment in 3 to 12 weeks time.
You can book and manage appointments on the National Booking Service.
What should I do if I am not well when it is time for my next appointment? ⬇️
You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self isolating, waiting for a Covid-19 test or feeling unwell.
If you are unwell, it is better to wait until recovered to have your vaccine, but you should try to have it as soon as possible.
After I have had the vaccine will I still need to follow all the infection control advice? ⬇️
The vaccine cannot give you Covid-19 infection, and two doses plus a booster dose will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.
So, you will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.
To continue to protect yourself, your residents, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:
• practise social distancing
• wear a face mask
• wash your hands carefully and frequently
• follow the current guidance www.gov.uk/coronavirus