Vaccination programme expanded to carers (50-64) and those with underlying health conditions

19/02/2021

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has been expanded to now include unpaid carers aged 50 to 64 and an increase to the list of people highlighted with underlying health conditions.

The vaccine rollout is being delivered by the Western Health and Social Care Trust through three regional vaccination centres located at Omagh Leisure Centre, Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen and Foyle Arena in Derry/Londonderry and to date has seen over 45,000 vaccines delivered. This is being carried out as part of a collaborative programme involving the Western Trust, Councils, Multi-Agency groups and GP Practices.

This latest expansion of the programme sees the start of a major vaccination to include unpaid carers who are aged 50-64 and are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person, whose welfare may be at risk if you as carer fall ill.

Those carers who meet the age criteria can now book their place by visiting the online booking portal https://covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated/; or by calling the regional booking line on 0300 200 7813 from Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Those within the Western Trust area can also call the local booking line on 028 7161 0753.

Commenting on the welcome broadening of the target groups, Western Trust Director of Human Resources and Vaccine Programme Lead, Ann McConnell, said: “The expansion of the Vaccination Programme to include carers and more of those with underlying health conditions is a very welcome development in our ongoing roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine across the Trust area.

“It is vitally important that we keep up our fantastic momentum and move through the different groups as quickly and efficiently as possible and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to make their appointment as soon as possible.”

“We have a number of slots available immediately and over the weekend at both our Enniskillen and Foyle centres and we expect to have additional capacity available at the Omagh Centre Omagh from next week*, so don’t delay, book your slot as soon as you can.”

Carers Coordinator with the Western Trust, Cathy Magowan, said:

“To make sure to carers who are entitled to the vaccine can access it as quickly and easily as possible all carers attending the vaccination centres are required to bring ID with confirmation of their age and it is helpful that they also bring their Health and Care Number (this number appears on prescription medication and is on the medical card and most hospital appointment letters).”

 

GPs will also be providing the vaccine to more people with underlying health conditions.

In addition, anyone over 70 who has not yet had their first dose from their GP will now have the option to book a vaccination appointment at one of the regional centres, including the Foyle Arena, Lakeland Forum and Omagh Leisure Centre.

GPs will be making vaccination available to more medically vulnerable people and their carers, including people aged 18 plus who have underlying medical conditions but who did not receive a shielding letter. This extended target group is expected to largely mirror those who receive the winter flu vaccine each year because of their medical conditions.

There is no need to contact your GP as they will invite people to receive the vaccine based on their vaccine supply. This phase of the programme will take several weeks to complete, so please be patient. GPs will also remain focussed on completing vaccinations for the 70 plus age group.

Booking will be available to Carers aged 50-64 and who are: in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit; are a registered care home Care Partner; are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you, as carer fall ill. People are asked to respect these criteria when booking. It is anticipated that Carers in lower age groups can be assured that the age eligibility will expanded in the coming days and weeks.

Anyone attending a vaccination centre can be assured that social distancing and other COVID safety rules are strictly applied.

You can find out more about Carers NI and join us as a member at www.carersni.org or contact us for information and advice on 028 9043 9843. “In the Western Trust 32,493 people identified themselves as providing an informal caring role according to the 2011 Census figures.”