Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines for frontline social care workers

The roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine is underway, including vaccinating frontline social care workers working with clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) adults and/or children. Local authority responsibility for vaccination of the social care workforce is outlined in the standard operating procedure.

For people working in social care, the first nationally identified cohort to receive the vaccine was those working in care homes for older people (cohort one). On 7 January the vaccination programme was extended to those in cohort two: the health and social care workforce.

Booking your vaccination

Eligible frontline social care workers in cohort two who haven't yet received their vaccination can now book an appointment to have this at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy through the NHS COVID-19 vaccination booking service.

You should try to book online first, but if this isn't possible you can phone 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week.

As part of the booking process, you need to self-declare you're a frontline worker, working face-to-face offering care to CEV children and/or adults. You'll need to take a letter of eligibility and photo ID (eg work ID, passport, driving licence) to your appointment. To obtain a letter of eligibility please email ascpublichealth@barnsley.gov.uk stating which organisation you work for and your job title.

Delivering the vaccination programme to the social care workforce

There are thousands of people who work in the social care sector in Barnsley. It's our responsibility to ensure that all employers of frontline social care workers in their area are identified and provided with the necessary information and support to make arrangements for the vaccination of staff.

Am I eligible for a vaccine?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation issued guidance on nationally defined cohorts via the Green Book.

A standard operating procedure (SOP) has also been published to provide guidance on how vaccination to social care staff should to be delivered. Further guidance for vaccination for frontline social care workers was issued on 27 January 2021.

All frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support, irrespective of where they work, are classed as cohort two. This includes those working in:

  • people's own homes
  • day centres
  • care homes for working age adults
  • supported housing

This also relates to whether they care for clinically extremely vulnerable adults or children, or who they're employed by. For example, this includes:

  • local government
  • NHS private sector
  • third sector employees

How do I know if I'm caring for someone who's CEV?

People may be identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable in three ways:

  1. They have one or more of the conditions listed below.

  2. Their clinician or GP has added them to the shielded patient list because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem them to be at high risk of serious illness if they catch the virus.

  3. They've been identified through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment as potentially being at high risk of serious illness if they catch the virus.

People with the following conditions are automatically deemed as clinically extremely vulnerable:

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers:
    • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
    • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
    • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
    • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
    • people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
    • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • people with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell disease)
  • people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • problems with your spleen, for example splenectomy (having your spleen removed)
  • adults with Down’s syndrome
  • adults on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage five)
  • women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
  • other people who have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions.

What about allergic reactions? 

The vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people; they've been tested on tens of thousands of people and assessed by experts.

Any person with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to the ingredients contained in the vaccines should not receive them. A second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should not be given to those who have experienced anaphylaxis to the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

A detailed review of the vaccines and their ingredients have been provided by the MHRA and can be found at the links below in the resources section.

What if I'm pregnant, trying to conceive or breastfeeding?

There's no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you're pregnant, but more evidence is needed before you can routinely be offered it.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you're pregnant and:

  • at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where you work
  • have a health condition that means you're at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus

You can have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding. Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you.

You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

You can find links to more information in the resources section below.

If you're eligible for vaccination

If you're eligible for vaccination you can now book an appointment to have this at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy through the NHS COVID-19 vaccination booking service.

You should try to book online first, but if this isn't possible you can phone 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week. You'll be able to book your vaccination this way until 28 February 2021.

As part of the booking process, you need to self-declare you're a frontline worker, working face-to-face offering care to CEV children and/or adults. You'll need to take a letter of eligibility and photo ID (eg work ID, passport, driving licence) to your appointment. To obtain a letter of eligibility please email ascpublichealth@barnsley.gov.uk stating which organisation you work for and your job title.

Resources