COVID VACCINATION AND PA TESTING UPDATE

Accessing COVID Vaccines for your PA/CARERS

If you're an Independent Lives payroll customer, funded by West Sussex County Council, you should have received a letter from us over the weekend with information on how your PAs can register to receive a COVID vaccination. If you have not received this yet, it is still making its way to you.

Customers funded by Continuing Healthcare have been sent a letter directly from them providing details about PA vaccinations.

We understand that at the moment the link to the site for booking PA vaccinations mentioned in the letter does not provide the facility to book appointments. 

Independent Lives are now able to book vaccinations for PAs working in West Sussex at the following sites: Princess Royal Hospital (Haywards Heath), Royal Sussex County Hospital (Brighton), St Richard's Hospital (Chichester) and Worthing Hospital. To book, please call Independent Lives Information & Advice Line on 01903 219 482 ext. 301. Please make sure that you have the mobile phone numbers and date of births of your PA's on hand before you call. You can book an appointment for your PA yourself or your PA can make the booking themselves. 

Please note - PAs will be asked to provide proof of their role at their vaccination appointment. Please use the letters previously sent to you by Independent Lives or ask the Information & Advice Line when booking appointments. 

According to the site, this is due to a very high demand on the service and the need to prioritise access to the vaccine for those most at risk. 

The site also states that additional staff vaccination services ‘will come online next week’. 

At the moment, we are not aware if there is an alternative booking solution being arranged, so in the meantime all we can advise is you refresh the link over the coming days to check for any updated information. 

Please keep an eye on this page for all up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Accessing the COVID Vaccine as an unpaid or informal carer

We have had customers ask if Unpaid/Informal carers are able to receive the COVID vaccine at the same time as health and social care staff. Unfortunately, the answer to this is no.

Employed Carers and Personal Assistants are in group 2 of the COVID Vaccine priority list. Unpaid and informal carers are in group 6.

At current rates, those in group 6 should expect to receive their first dose of vaccine between 30/03/2021 and 16/05/2021.

You should then get your second dose by between 22/06/2021 and 08/08/2021.

You can calculate when you should be asked to receive your COVID vaccination by visiting: https://www.omnicalculator.com/health/vaccine-queue-uk

Please note these dates are estimates based on the current NHS vaccination rate and are subject to change at any time.

To receive an invitation to vaccination, you must register with your GP surgery as an informal carer in order to ensure you are contacted by their surgery when it is their turn to be vaccinated.

The list of all COVID vaccination priority groups are below:

Further information can also be found on the Carers UK website at the link below:

https://www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/press-releases/carers-uk-welcomes-new-jcvi-advice-which-includes-unpaid-carers-in-the-vaccination-priority-list

Can I insist that my PA takes the COVID vaccine?

In the case of PA vaccinations, many individual employers are fearful that their PAs are putting them and often their family at risk by refusing to take the vaccine. Some individual employers are considering disciplinary action or even dismissal.

However, it is unfair in most cases to simply dismiss a PA who is refusing to take the vaccine.

You should talk to your PAs about the vaccine and seek further advice from the provider of your Employer’s Liability Insurance in the event that there’s a difference of opinion on this matter.

In some cases, a mandated vaccination programme might be fair if it can be demonstrated that the vaccine is one of a range of measures being implemented to protect somebody who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but this should not be implemented without seeking advice from your insurer.

According to the Government’s COVID-19 vaccination guide for social care staff, while vaccinated health and social care staff will be less likely to pass on the infection it is not yet clear how much of an impact this will have.

Some vaccinated people could get a mild or asymptomatic infection and therefore still be able to pass the virus on.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) report on priority groups suggests that the vaccine efficacy and any potential impacts on transmission are being monitored by public health England and data will be considered at the earliest opportunity.

It is therefore still too early to draw any firm conclusions beyond a potential reduction in transmission.

For most employers this reduction is not enough to warrant introducing a mandatory vaccination programme or blanket dismissal for refusing to be vaccinated.

Particularly where infection control measures and safe working practices are in place to prevent infection.