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People aged 16 to 64 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde who provide vital face to face care and support for others, and have not already had their first vaccine dose or appointment letter, are being invited to register for their COVID-19 vaccination.
A self-registration service has been launched this week to enable people aged 16 and over to check their eligibility and register, online or over the phone if unable to get online, for the vaccine as an unpaid carer. Carers who receive relevant benefits should have already received a letter with details of their appointment but all eligible unpaid carers are being encouraged to self-register - when they do, they will be advised if they are already scheduled for an appointment so there is no duplication.
There are an estimated 700,000 people in Scotland who care for a friend, family member or neighbour affected by a disability, physical or mental ill health, frailty or a substance misuse. Many of these people may not realise they are eligible to receive the vaccine now as part of group 6 on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority list.
The care they provide could be anything from domestic tasks such as regularly helping with the shopping, picking up prescriptions or preparing meals, to personal care such as helping them to wash and dress. It could also be emotional support to someone such as a partner, friend or family member with a long-term health condition.
Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, commented: “Carers play a crucial role in the community and we recognise that the events of the past year have put more pressure than ever before on those who provide care and support for others. You may not consider yourself a carer, but if you provide vital face-to-face care to anyone, be it family, friend or neighbour, then you could be eligible to receive the vaccine now. Getting the vaccine reduces your risk of COVID and supports you to keep well and in turn, ensure those you care for are safe.
“We are hugely thankful to our carer community and urge them to protect themselves by registering for the vaccine now.”
Breakfast Show Presenter for Greatest Hits Network Scotland, Including Clyde 2 and Forth 2, Cat Harvey is supporting the campaign for Scotland’s carers to come forward: “I’m a carer for my dad who is 86 with advanced prostate cancer. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will give me greater confidence in protecting myself and my dad from the virus so that I can continue to provide the vital practical and emotional support that is so important to us both.
“We need each other more than ever at the moment and getting the vaccine means I’ll feel more confident going in to help him and we can both be a bit more relaxed spending precious time together chatting which is so special as we both love having a laugh! Whatever your situation, if you are providing long-term support to someone who needs it, whether it’s a family member, friend, or neighbour, I would encourage you to self-register for the vaccine to protect yourself and enable you to continue to provide this important care.”
Health Minister Jeane Freeman, comments: “Scotland has very many people who provide vital care and support for family and friends who don’t necessarily see themselves as unpaid carers, it’s just what they do. The care they provide is vitally important to all of us and in the national vaccination programme they are prioritised. By getting the vaccine those caring for others can protect themselves while they look after and protect others.”
You can check if you are eligible by using the website self-registration at nhsinform.scot/carersregister or by calling the Covid Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013. Getting the vaccine reduces your risk of COVID-19 and helps ensure that you can continue to support the individuals that you care for.
Pictured: Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health, NHSGGC