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Vaccinations in social care – your questions answered

Sir David Pearson, chair of the National COVID-19 Social Care Taskforce

Sir David Pearson, chair of the National COVID-19 Social Care Taskforce, answers the most frequently asked questions around vaccinations for staff and residents in a social care setting.

 

What are the top tips for a smooth vaccination process?

  • Inform and engage care home staff and residents. Keep them briefed and ensure relatives are informed and involved as appropriate.
  • Link in with the lead vaccinator. Work closely with them and other key colleagues where appropriate, such as the local authority and CCG
  • Ensure the consenting process is in place for all residents. These can be arranged into 3 key groups:
  1. residents with capacity for decision
  2. residents where there is a named person who has Power of Attorney for Welfare decision
  3. residents where a best interest decision is required.
  • A vaccination consent form should be completed for each resident in advance of the day of vaccination.
  • Prepare the space in the care home required to deliver the vaccinations; an area for diluting and mixing; a room for vaccinating and an area for observation
  • Plan staffing required for the day; ensuring there are sufficient staff for assisting with observation.
  • Ensure other practical arrangements are in place, such as car parking and sufficient PPE supplies on site.

If you have had COVID-19 should you still have a vaccine?

Yes, you should. The scientific and clinical advice is that the best protection from the virus is achieved through vaccination. It is advised that 28 days should elapse from the point of having a positive test for COVID–19 and vaccination.

If there is an outbreak within the care home should vaccinations still take place?

The Covid-19 vaccine should be offered to older adults in care homes and their carers, with the aim of achieving high uptake as rapidly as possible. This includes when other residents have tested positive with Covid-19. A number of factors will need to be considered before a vaccination team attends a care home.

Guidance (published 31 December 2020) on vaccination in care homes that have cases and outbreaks, can be found here

If so, under what conditions should this take place?

The situation in each home will be considered individually to ensure that it is as safe as possible for people in the home and for those vaccinating to go ahead with the vaccinations.

Guidance (published 31 December 2020) on vaccination in care homes that have cases and outbreaks, can be found here

Once people have had the vaccine should they continue to use PPE?

Yes.  No vaccine is completely effective, and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection. While the approved vaccines provide protection to a vaccinated person from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, we do not yet know if they prevent someone from passing on the virus to others.

All staff will still need to follow the guidance in their workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any testing programmes.

What is the role of care home staff and key workers in giving reassurance to residents?

Information for residents and staff about the vaccine is available on the GOV.uk website and can be obtained in Braille and easy read formats. Some residents may need the support of staff to go through this information and understand it. While managers should encourage all residents and staff to take up the vaccine using these resources, it is not mandatory for anyone. We would expect all care providers to be open and honest in response to queries on this subject.

Is there a strategy for rolling out a vaccination programme for people with learning disabilities, their families, carers and supporters?

People with learning disabilities fit in different cohorts depending on how their learning disability has been classified according to the priorities set out by the JCVI in the Green Book on vaccines. People who have had their learning disability diagnosed as severe or profound are in priority group 4 as they are clinically extremely vulnerable. People who have had their learning disability diagnosed as mild or moderate will be priority group 6 as they are considered clinically vulnerable. There are of course other health conditions that someone might have that will change their priority grouping and this should be discussed with your GP.

People who are paid carers for people with learning disabilities are in priority group 2 and should be receiving invitations for their vaccine. This includes personal assistants.

Family members and other unpaid carers are in priority group 6, though recognising also that many family and unpaid carers will themselves fall into a higher priority groups in view of their own age or clinical needs.

For more information click here

 

 

 

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